Culture Clips: Apple Deletes iTunes


Once upon a time, we bought CDs. (And before that, cassettes, vinyl records and, yup, even 8-tracks for a hot minute in the mid-’70s.) But that list illustrates an inescapable reality: Music formats eventually become obsolete.

CDs, while not technically extinct, have given way over the last two decades to digital music-streaming platforms such as Spotify and Pandora, not to mention YouTube and Amazon Music. And, of course, iTunes. I still remember the day a former boss of mine installed the services on her Mac in January 2001. “I just got iTunes!” she beamed. “What’s that?” I asked.

iTunes, of course, was Apple’s online music store. And when paired with the company’s super-snazzy new iPod, which debuted the following October, it was nothing less than a musical game-changer. Forget your old Walkman or Discman. Now you could have all the music you ever wanted in your pocket. It truly was a revolutionary product.

For 18 years, Apple’s iTunes store has evolved with the ever-changing music industry, all the while offering users the ability to purchase and download tracks and albums, TV shows and movies, as well as podcasts.

But just as the iPod eventually meandered into Jurassic-tech status, so now has iTunes. At Apple’s annual WWDC conference, the company announced that the latest version of its MacOS, Catalina, will no longer include iTunes. Instead, that app’s functions will be split into three separate apps: Apple Music, Apple TV and Apple Podcasts.

In her Rolling Stone article “Apple Is Finally Killing iTunes,” Amy X. Wang reflects on the platform’s influence:

It’s the end of a music era. Nearly two decades after launching iTunes and ripping up the retail-store model of album purchases, Apple is ready to retire the iconic product. … Welcome as the death of iTunes may be to frustrated users, the software will forever deserve credit for the revolution it engineered in the early 2000s. Before iTunes debuted, the music industry was tearing its hair out trying to combat illegal file-sharing on Napster; Jobs’ new product presented the digital era’s first sustainable, user-friendly way to listen to music.

Longtime users reportedly need not worry that their digital catalogs will face unplugged oblivion. Slate’s Aaron Mak reports:

Users who have spent the better part of two decades curating iTunes playlists with songs not available on Spotify have little to fear. According to a company spokesperson, when you update to MacOS Catalina, your iTunes songs and playlists will automatically transfer to Apple Music, your podcasts to Apple Podcasts, and your videos to Apple TV.

Music delivery methods continue to evolve. But pop music’s past refuses to march quietly into the dust bin of history. Last year, the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody surprised nearly everyone by topping $900 million in total international box-office receipts as well as earning four Oscar noms, including Best Picture and Best Actor (which Rami Malek won).

And when a $900 million tree falls in the Hollywood forest, you can be certain that producers will suddenly be looking for more such trees. Hence, the Elton John biopic Rocketman, currently in theaters (though not likely to do as well as its predecessor due to its more explicit content and R-rating, risqué elements that Elton John himself reportedly wanted in the film). Up next: Boy George’s story, as well as various projects focusing on or drawing artistic inspiration from Pavarotti, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, The Go-Go’s and the Wu-Tang Clan, among others.

Meanwhile, the music industry is practically salivating at the sales and streams that these movies generate. Billboard reports:

In the six months following the debut of Bohemian Rhapsody, on-demand streams of Queen’s music more than tripled compared with the six months prior to its opening—from 588 million to 1.9 billion. Sales were even stronger, with tracks jumping from 527,000 to 1.9 million units and albums rising 483%, from 184,000 to 1.1 million units.

Some voices have praised Rocketman’s depiction of homosexuality, including The Daily Beast’s Kevin Fallon in his article “Rocketman Is So Much Better—and Gayer—Than Bohemian Rhapsody.” But the recent depiction of a gay wedding in another, very different context, has resulted in controversy.

Alabama’s PBS affiliate refused to air an episode of the long-running children’s program Arthur when it depicted a same-sex wedding ceremony. The local affiliate came under fire, but it defended the decision because it didn’t want to erode trust with Alabama families that might be caught off guard by the episode’s controversial advocacy for gay marriage.

Cultural clashes have flared elsewhere in the South, too. Georgia’s heartbeat abortion law, which goes into effect in 2020, has resulted in studios and actors calling for boycotts of the state. Netflix, in particular, has suggested “we’d rethink our entire investment in Georgia” if the bill goes into effect, a position that prompted Right to Live UK to initiate a boycott against the streaming giant. But these stances are difficult ones for studios due to Georgia’s incentives and tax breaks.

In less-controversial news this week, James Holzhauer’s much-ballyhooed 33-day Jeopardy winning streak has come to an end. And though that figure is well short of Jeopardy legend Ken Jennings’ 74-day run back in 2004, Holzhauer’s aggressive wagering style netted him $2,464,216, just $56,484 shy of Jennings’ record-setting haul.

And landing things on a nice note, USA Today reports “Christianity is trending in 2019’s country music hits, from Blake Shelton to Carrie Underwood.” Writer Holly Meyer (whose piece originally appeared in the Nashville Tennessean) notes, “At least seven high-profile songs [so far this year] reference God or His Son or wade into the spirit of Christianity,” including hits from Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Little Big Town and George Strait, among others.

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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Skillet is one of my favorite newer Christian bands out there. I only have Awake and Unleashed Beyond, but I love them both very much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Personally I miss James. He was the best Jeopardy player since Austin Rogers in my mind and I really loved his style of game play. I hadn't been this excited about a Jeopardy player in a long time and he will be sorely missed, especially by me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love For King & Country's Run Wild cd and their Priceless movie was really quite good as well, but their Burn the Ships album is horribly disappointing. Just too stinkin' quiet for its own good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Homosexuality is the worst sin you can commit because it's sinning against the flesh, and should never ben considered normal or ok. People need to stop being so accepting of homosexuals in general.

And call me crazy but ever since I first started buying cd's in late 2000 I've used nothing but them to buy and listen to my music from. I'm a proud cd owner and still open up every case and place the cd in a player every time.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nice to meet a fellow cd user. I do use Amazon, but I have a number of cds that I love to play on a player. 
 You are right about homosexuals. I am not against gays as people, but their whole collective agenda seems a bit blown out of proportion to me. It's rather sad, really. I once tried to wrap my mind around the fact that a person could feel an attraction to a person of their own gender and think it was normal or ok, and failed. I just feel that these people really need our prayers.
 -Emma Bibliophile
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm starting to think Alabama has the right idea. First the abortion ruling and now no gay marriage on kid's tv...Georgia too.
-Emma Bibliophile
Kendall Litzsinger More than 1 year ago
and you are homophobic and you need to stop and get over it. you can't censor everything just because you don't like it and neither can the dems so just accept it and respect it. learn to treat ALL people as people and trust me, the world will be a better place because you are no better than them and they are no better than you, no one is perfect so stop being so entitled. Besides, I think there's a passage in your bible that commands people NOT to judge. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Who are you talking to?
-Emma Bibliophile
Karl The Klown More than 1 year ago
Just ignore it Emma. She's just looking for a fight 
Synesthetic Librarian More than 1 year ago
Homosexuality is a sin. The Bible is pretty clear about that. You are absolutely right when you say that we should treat all people as people and that we are no better than anyone else, because we are all sinners in God's eyes. But saying that homosexual behaviour is okay is going against God's Word. Romans 1:24-32 is a great verse that feels very spot-on to how our world glorifies sexual sin today. I personally think that having homosexual inclinations is not a choice, but acting on those inclinations is. God is amazing and powerful and can help anyone overcome temptation.
Ted Grider More than 1 year ago
iTunes has served its place in providing older out of print Christian music that one could not find other than in a garage sale. However the shame of not finding lost gems by artists such as Larry Norman, Degarmo and Key, Rez Band, 2nd Chapter of Acts, et all except via iTunes is matched only by the self serving nature of 70s and 80s record industry. Most of these artists were poorly compensated. 

Now Sparrow , Myrrh and other Christian labels are swallowed up by large corporations. Only a small portion Christian music (and that is the most blandest tunes!) even gets played on large syndicated FM radio such as WayFM or KLove. 

We may never forget ITunes but we have forgotten the pioneers of Christian music.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lots of times local Christian radio stations play more varied music. You should find one in your area. I almost recomended the ones in my area but realized you might live a hundred miles away from me. 
 -Emma Bibliophile
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't use itunes. I listen to Amazon and Pandora, also those old things known as cds.
 Oh and by the way, Christian music is great. My favorites are:
 For King and Country
 Casting Crowns
Tenth Avenue North
Edit: Forgot to tag myself. I'm Emma Bibliophile
Hannah Cole More than 1 year ago

I love Needtobreathe! Do you have a favourite album of theirs? I saw them in concert two years ago and it was amazing.

I'm bummed about ITunes going. I used it to buy albums, downloaded them to my computer, and then copied the files to my phone (I have an android). Now I guess I'll have to find another alternative...

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite Needtobreathe album is Hard Love. It is utterly wonderful. I have not had the chance to see them in concert yet but I hope to sometime.
-Emma Bibliophile
Hannah Cole More than 1 year ago

I really like their newest album too, although my favourite is probably The Outsiders. Most of their songs I like best are from that album.

I highly recommend seeing them in concert! Definitely glad I saw them as my first concert. Be warned, though, if you aren't used to concerts they are loud lol

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've been to lots of concerts and yes, LOUD. My first concert was Tenth Avenue North opening for Chris Tomlin. Tenth Avenue North is great in concert too, would recommend seeing them as well.
-Emma Bibliophile
Awesomepants Films More than 1 year ago
I really like "Wolves at the gate"
relatively unknown, really cool Christian band.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Are they on Amazon? I might want to check them out.
-Emma Bibliophile