We’ve already written about Apple’s plan to kill iTunes back in April, and it’s now official: the company just announced in WWDC 2019 that as of the next macOS Catalina update, three new separate apps will take the place of iTunes: Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV. These streamlined, standalone apps will only manage content that is specific to them: music for Music, podcasts for Apple Podcasts, and shows for Apple TV.
However, this does NOT mean your music will suddenly “disappear”, or that you necessarily need do anything to continue DJing with your local music collection. In this article – constantly updated as this story develops – we separate the fact from the scaremongering.
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While only shown briefly, the new Music app looks similar to iTunes, but this time without media tabs at the top and with less clutter: You now only have the Apple Music tree with For You, Browse, and Radio. Next, you have Library which is for songs saved on your hard drive, and you also have Playlists which lists your playlists.
Curiously, there was no mention at all of the iTunes Store. Last year, there were whispers of Apple shuttering the music download service, but that’s all still conjecture up until now. That it’s not featured on the interface screenshots of the new Music app, however, is a reflection of Apple’s priorities at the moment: music streaming.
What does this mean for DJs?
If you’ve been using iTunes to manage your DJ library, don’t panic for now, but it could go a few ways.
It’s possible that you’ll be able to use the new Music app in the same way, as long as DJ apps are able to access your local Music app library of tracks you own just like they currently can with the iTunes Library.
While it seems that the “XML file access” that some DJ software integrations rely on may not be in the new Music app, the DJ app companies have time to figure out how to access the Music library another way (which does exist, via the API, which Algoriddim – the maker of djay – uses, for instance).
We’ve reached out to the software companies and so far we have official word from Serato (go here for their support post).
While the jury’s out on what this will mean for DJs, this is a logical move for Apple and good for general users, because it essentially takes iTunes back to what it does best: manage music. Back in 2001, Apple launched iTunes with the original iPod, and it was meant to be the heart of your digital music collection. As the iPod evolved into a device capable of playing back podcasts, videos and photos, Apple slowly added multimedia management capabilities to iTunes.
While it was simple enough back then, the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 meant that even more types of media could be managed and synced with iTunes (eg apps), and that’s what caused iTunes to slowly become the bloated behemoth that DJs have had to live with. Until now: the Music app promises to be a straightforward way to manage music without the complications and unnecessary features that made later versions of iTunes so clunky.
If you’re a Mac user, Music ships with the latest macOS Catalina when it rolls around later this month. Apple has not mentioned if and when Music will be available on Windows.
• This is a developing story. Check the Apple site for more details.
What are your thoughts on the end of iTunes? Do you like the new Music app? How do you think this will affect the music downloads market? Let us know your thoughts below.