Charting the End of iTunes

Apple just announced that it will end the iTunes digital download as we know it, and we're charting its death.... @chartmetric #chartmetric #Apple #iTunes #WWDC #rocketman #aladdin #countrymusic #musicindustry #data #analysis

2019-06-04 // Charting the End of iTunes
  • Highlights
    • In the wake of Apple’s announcement that it will end the iTunes digital download as we know it, we’re scanning the iTunes Charts to see what, if anything, will be lost.    
  • Mission   
    • Good morning, it’s Rutger here at Chartmetric with your 3-minute Data Dump where we upload charts, artists, and playlists into your brain so you can stay up on the latest in the music data world.
  • Date
    • This is your Data Dump for Tuesday, June 4th, 2019.
  • Charting the End of iTunes
    • Today, we’re looking at the U.S. iTunes Charts following Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) announcement that it will be ending the iTunes digital download as we know it and spinning out the iTunes app into three separate apps for Apple Music, podcasts, and television.
    • What will that mean for the music you already purchased and downloaded? Rest assured, Apple is making provisions for the digital downloads you already own. 
    • The company wouldn’t be ending the iTunes digital download era without good cause — namely, most consumers stream; they don’t mp3 anymore.
    • That said, what will be lost? We’re gonna walk you through how to figure that out using the iTunes Top 100 Tracks and iTunes Albums charts for U.S. storefronts.
    • Looking solely at chart position, there’s a lot of correlation between high performing pop downloads and high performing pop streams on Apple’s iTunes and Music apps, respectively. 
    • Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Old Town Road,” Katy Perry’s “Never Really Over,” Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber’s “I Don’t Care,” and Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” being prime examples.
    • Differences emerge with different genres, however. At No. 2 on the U.S. iTunes chart for June 3rd is John Rich’s “Shut Up About Politics,” which is nowhere on the Apple Music Daily Tracks chart. 
    • Blake Shelton’s “God’s Country,” which is at No. 6 on the U.S. iTunes chart for June 3rd, ranks just 89th on the U.S. Apple Music Daily Tracks. 
    • It’s a similar story for Morgan Wallen’s “Whiskey Glasses” at No. 7 on iTunes but No. 71 on Apple Music, and for Luke Combs’ “Beer Never Broke My Heart” at No. 12 on iTunes but No. 64 on Apple Music. 
    • What will this mean for country fans who tend to prefer digital downloads? In 2017, Pandora's chief executive, Tim Westergren, saw promise in converting country listeners into paying subscribers considering how active country fans and artists are on the platform
    • We’ll see if the end of iTunes chases country fans from Apple to Pandora, but that would still require an adjustment from a download oriented consumer base to a streaming oriented consumer base.
    • iTunes has also been huge for another important segment of the music industry: movie soundtracks. 
    • Looking at chart summaries by artist, Elton John and Will Smith have nine and four tracks on the iTunes Top 100, respectively, and it’s all thanks to the recent Elton John biopic, Rocket Man, and Guy Ritchie’s live-action Aladdin movie, starring Will Smith as the genie. 
    • Jumping over to the iTunes Albums in All Genres chart for June 3rd, the Aladdin soundtrack is at No. 3 and various Elton John albums and/or compilations scatter the top 10. 
    • Amazingly, the soundtrack for The Greatest Showman — a movie released two years ago — is at No. 9.
    • While the end of iTunes probably won’t affect income streams for most artists — as the majority of music consumers have largely forgotten about mp3s anyway — for country music stars and artists on movie soundtracks, the end of this era just might sting a little. 
  • Outro
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