Update: In a fittingly short statement given to Recode, Apple representative Tom Neumayr says that the report is "not true."
Original story: A new rumor claims that Apple will do away with music purchases through iTunes within the next few years. The company is reportedly speaking with record companies about a timeline for such a move, which would see Apple Music subscription service become the company's only distribution venue for music.
From Digital Music News:
Back to the story, the sources indicated that a range of shutdown timetables are being considered by Apple, though one executive noted that "keeping [iTunes music downloads] running forever isn't really on the table anymore." Also under discussion is a plan to "ride the [iTunes music download offering] out for the next 3-4 years, maybe longer," when paid music downloads are likely to be an afterthought in a streaming-dominated industry.
This seems like it would be quite an odd move for Apple to make. While music download sales have been dropping steadily over the past couple of years, there is still a considerable market for buying songs and albums. Music purchases still bring in hundreds of millions of dollars per year for the company, and that's not something that anyone would give up lightly.
Do Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Tidal drop their music purchasing offerings as well, at similar times? Because if not, then that's four Apple rivals that are getting money that used to be going to Apple. And there's also the question of people who have and continue to make purchases on the iTunes Store? What happens to their music?
Until such time that Apple announces a move like this, take this report with a massive grain of salt.