Multiple websites are reporting that Apple has begun its plan to stop selling music downloads on iTunes, gradually forcing customers to subscribe to Apple Music.
It’s a worrying scenario, but there’s a slight problem: It’s not true.
“Apple has begun to stop selling iTunes downloads,” says ShortList. “Breaking: Apple Drops Music Downloads In iTunes Korea App,” says Digital Music News.
The apparent evidence for those headlines is a collection of screenshots of iTunes in South Korea.
There aren’t any download options — just the option to stream songs on Apple Music. Apple has just launched Apple Music in the country, and so the screenshots make it look like Apple cut music downloads at the time.
Except it didn’t. Apple has never offered iTunes downloads in South Korea. It’s a complicated environment for rightsholders, and music sales in South Korea are dominated by local telecom companies.
What’s happened here is that people saw Apple Music launch in South Korea and incorrectly assumed Apple quietly cut music downloads at the same time.
For what it’s worth, Apple said in May that it has no plans to end paid music downloads. It told Recode in May 2016 that a story about a longterm scheme to end iTunes downloads was “not true.”