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How iTunes Changed Digital Streaming

Apple's earliest creation led the way in digital streaming and changed the music industry


What's going on?

iTunes was first introduced together with the iPad in October 2001 as a media software to manage users’ purchased videos and music from the store – which eventually set the path for the streaming industry. It went further in September 2016 with the introduction of the gapless playback that was well received by Apple users around the world.


Even before iTunes was launched, Apple had struck deals with companies such as Sony Music and EMI to ensure that users will be well updated with the latest in the music scene. Since that era, the music streaming industry has grown significantly with popular services at the present day such as Spotify, and Apple Music was introduced in June 2015 to better compete in the industry. Instead of purchasing a single album from an artist, Apple Music allowed users to access its full music or movie streaming content for a fixed price by becoming a subscriber in addition to other services.


On the other hand, the long existed iTunes has no subscription aspect except for an annual fee to maintain all of the user-owned contents and cloud storage services on iTunes. This led to an increase of Apple users switching to Apple Music from iTunes, as users prefer to rent an extensive library of content rather than own a couple of them. In March 2019, Apple announced the discontinuation of iTunes due to the overwhelming success of Apple Music, but its legacy will be remembered for leading the way for the streaming industry.