Is Apple about to kill MP3?

Mike Halsey MVP
Nov 15, 2010
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Apple, Companies

It's long been rumoured that Apple will launch a streaming music service to rival (erm... their rival) Spotify.  Now the company is talking up "an exciting announcement from iTunes" tomorrow with the headline "Tomorrow is just another day, that you'll never forget".

Nobody knows that the annoucement will be but the concensus on the web, and I'd agree with them all, is to expect a subscription-based streaming service.

To be honest this could be an extremely good thing to help get people away for their frankly awful effort that is the iTunes software itself.  It remains to be seen though just how mobile network carriers will see the move.  The majority of purchases through the iTunes store will now take place on devices such as the iPhone and adding a streaming service could place significant stresses on mobile networks that have already had to introduce usage caps for some smartphone users.

Some people are also speculating that the move could see the beginning of the end for the MP3.  To be honest I would say that mobile and home broadband connections need to get much faster and more reliable for this to happen, though new technologies are already beginning to be introduced that can help on the road to this.  The CD and vinyl LP were hard to kill off because people liked a physical 'thing' they could hold and collect.  It can very easily be argued that people won't have any such attachment to a digital music or video file.

Whatever the announcement, and however (un)forgettable it turns out to be, we'll bring you the news here at


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  1. conpas said on November 16, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    BBC reports it could just be the Beatles are coming to Itunes.

    1. DNS666 said on November 16, 2010 at 5:01 pm

      Turns out the BBC was / is right. Beatles catalogue now available on iTunes. Wow. Underwhelming. Not that I care about Apple / iTunes / other iProducts anyway.

  2. ReX said on November 16, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Just like they killed Flash, oh wait…
    I didn’t expect to see this Apple/Steve Jobs hyperbole here, it makes me sick.

  3. James said on November 16, 2010 at 1:58 am

    “The CD and vinyl LP were hard to kill off because people liked a physical ‘thing’ they could hold and collect.”

    Mike, I think it’s fair to say that the tactile experience of handling a CD/LP isn’t the only reason they are still around… Don’t forget they actually sound better than compressed formats (mp3) too!

  4. Dan said on November 16, 2010 at 1:51 am

    While Apple makes “revolutionary” products or services, it hasn’t really killed any competing product or technology (except perhaps first generation portable mp3 players). At best, Itunes might have some effect on US mp3 download numbers, but it can hardly affect worldwide usage.

  5. webfork said on November 15, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    The Apple AAC / M4A format has a long way to go. Two major problems I can see are:

    1. It isn’t an open format like Ogg so its not as easy to include in whatever software or hardware an outsider company develops (there’s at least an open encoder/decoder for MP3: LAME). While Ogg has been an outsider for a long time, but backing by the new Google Video format VP8 will mean it shows up in every single copy of Firefox, Chrome, and probably every other browser. If you’re talking streaming media, you might want something that plays directly and immediately in your browser.

    2. The M4A format isn’t supported by most non-apple music players I’ve played with (a quick search says #2 audio player SanDisk appears to provide a converter, not compatibility).

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