iTunes discontinued in new macOS Catalina, less-bloated Apple Music app to replace it

Today at WWDC 2019 (Apple’s annual developer conference) we heard the first official news about a much-talked about development to music management: the end of iTunes. We wrote about this in April, and it’s true: in the upcoming macOS Catalina release, iTunes is no more. The OS will instead come with three apps that replace it: Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and Apple TV.

How Does Apple Music replacing iTunes impact DJs?

“iTunes started completely focused – ‘Rip, Mix, and Burn’

– Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering

As far as we can tell, DJs will only benefit from this simplification. The WWDC presentation that addressed this app segmentation was highly critical of the bloat that iTunes has contracted over the years – even going as far to joke about how adding Calendar, Mail, and a Dock to the software would have been realistic additions.

Thankfully, this mockup of Calendar in iTunes was a joke.

It’s pretty hard to remember what iTunes was in the beginning – but originally, it was a tool for MP3 lovers. You could quickly rip music from CDs, create your own playlists from your music libraries, and burn those playlists out to CDs. That was it.

Anyone remember this version of iTunes?

It’s A Tool To Manage Music

A first screenshot of Apple Music in macOS Catalina (clck to zoom)

The new Apple Music app has two functions: to manage local music, and to browse/explore music that you might stream from the Apple Music streaming service. As a result, a lot of the functionality of iTunes that DJs require will be retained, while segmenting out features that have nothing to do with music (iPhone syncing, podcast streaming, movie and TV show watching).

If you’re like a lot of DJs and use iTunes as the backbone of your DJ library, we suspect you’ll be completely fine, and that using the software will be less painful. Your local library is still there, playlists are still available – and DJ software integrations are likely to work just fine.

The only content your music library will compete with will be Apple Music’s streaming content. Yes, streaming has come more into central view in this app, and will likely get all of the attention and most future features.

Even simply talking about the app becomes a lot more challenging. How do you talk about Apple Music (the music management software) without people thinking you’re talking about Apple Music (the streaming music service)? It’s sure to be a pain for DJs and music technology journalists.

What About iTunes Match, XML Integrations?

A quick update here to mention that there are a few floating unknowns out there in terms of features that DJs might use. The big unknowns include:

  • local file management and folder sorting – we can’t think of any reason these core functions would go away
  • iCloud Music Library / Match – these are services that some DJs use regularly (read how Cloud Library can be great for mobile DJs) to keep their collections high quality and synced. Unless the iTunes Music Store is going away, these probably won’t disappear.
  • XML collection files – we talked about this being a more back-burnered function in the most recent iTunes release, but since you’ll still have local music files in the new Apple Music app, there’s no clear reason why this option would disappear.

Apple Music (the software) is set to be released to the public with macOS 10.15 Catalina sometime in September – and yes, there will be a release for Windows users as well. More details on Apple’s site here.

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