Apple has four words to say to the rumors that it’s killing off iTunes

Early retirement?
Early retirement?
Image: Reuters/Stephen Lam
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Music downloads are dwindling. Streaming is king. And iTunes (still) sucks.

Could these three things be enough for Apple to stop offering albums and songs on the iTunes Store entirely? Last week, top industry analyst Mark Mulligan suggested Apple might no longer want to operate its music downloads business after 2020, if streaming profits from its Apple Music service continue to explode at their current rate. Yesterday (May 11), Digital Music News reported that confidential sources “with close and active business relationships to Apple” say the company is seriously considering shuttering iTunes within the next two to four years.

Apple media executive Tom Neumayr replied swiftly to the latest rumors, giving the following statement to Digital Music News today:

…It is not true.

Digital Music News says it stands by its sources, who suggest the company may be denying the rumors just to placate ”labels unhappy with the prospect of losing paid download sales, especially on such an aggressive timetable.”

Apple gave the same terse “not true” comment to several other news organizations, including BuzzFeed News and Recode. It didn’t provide any other details on its plans for the future of iTunes, though—so consumers and record company executives alike are just going to have to keep their eyes peeled and their shoulders tensed for a while yet.