Apple have switched off music downloads in South Korea, as a result of introducing Apple Music in the country. Could this spell the end of downloaded music in the UK?
The music giant launched the Apple Music streaming service in the country on August 8, where users are offered subscription plans roughly the same as in the UK, with a 3-month free trial.
However, Apple have removed music downloads from the iTunes service in South Korea, despite flatly denying that they had plans to do so.
The South Korean market is the eighth largest in the world. The UK is fourth.
Apple Music launched in China without iTunes in the mix. Doubt it will be the only one.
The bigger question is if Apple do plan to remove the iTunes service (or at least the downloaded music element) in other markets, and when it will hit the UK. In 2016, paid music downloads are experiencing double-digit declines in sales, with both Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group reporting a major downturn in the format.
Problem for me is that this removes choice. Apple Music, in my opinion, offers lower quality music than the downloaded versions of the same tunes. Listen for yourself, if you haven’t already. All the DACs and high end hi-fi kit can only go so far to bring us the best sound possible from a digital source.
So this spells bad news for music fans who enjoy an accurate reproduction.
Thing is, what can we do about it?