In an interview with the BBC, Iovine, who’s promoting the Netflix/HBO documentary The Defiant Ones, did not confirm details of an imminent shutdown of the iTunes download store, which has been rumored to happen by 2019. But he did perhaps allude to a decline in engagement: “If I’m honest, it’s when people stop buying. It’s very simple.”
Iovine also critiqued streaming music sites for offering identical models, stating that they’re “all charging $9.99 and everyone has the same music.”
As Apple tries to avoid that fate, it might be wise to phase out that foundational part of its model, but Iovine also signaled that Apple is trying to make a play for original content, which it’s claimed will start rolling out in early 2019. Streaming sites aren’t “enough as just a utility where you go there and you get the music,” he said. “They have to move you, bring culture to you.”
Earlier this month, it was reported that Apple was killing the iTunes LP format; the company later confirmed that it would not be taking new submissions after March, but you would still be able to access existing ones.
Iovine will be stepping away from daily duties at Apple Music in August, and taking on a consulting role.