By giving the album away, Apple hammers another metaphysical nail in the coffin of music sales. Digital music sales declined last year for the first time since the advent of iTunes, which hastened the demise of the compact disc a decade ago.
In the face of competition from streaming services like Spotify, Pandora and the Apple-owned Beats Music, there’s simply no compelling reason to own music anymore, aside from picking up a CD when your favorite indie band rolls through town so you can get an autograph (and they can get some gas money).
Plenty of people — digital hoarders, mostly — will undoubtedly grab their free copies of the new U2 album during the iTunes-exclusive window, but how many will actually play the files they download? If you’ve got the Internet, why would you need them clogging up your smartphone or your Apple Watch?
Don’t get me wrong: Music isn’t dead. Nobody will ever stop human beings (or elephants, for that matter) from making music.
But selling records or even downloads? That’s basically a thing of the past.
I wholeheartedly agree with this. Streaming and subscription is the future but don’t write Apple off just yet – they didn’t buy Beats for their headphones (that was a bonus) iTunes will evolve…