Streaming is up, downloads are down. In consumer music listening habits, that’s been the case for the past several years and it continues to look that way well into the future — even as a strengthening vinyl niche sticks around.

Digital plays don’t make as much money as track or album sales, but labels may expect to make more of it back by amping up negotiations with streaming distributors like Spotify and Apple Music. Not the iTunes Music Store, though.

Even as it still takes new releases today, the iTunes Music Store supposedly has its days numbered as a source to Digital Music News insists that it will stop offering downloads shortly after the new year in 2019. Apple has told the outlet that it’s “simply not true,” but the intelligence points to the plan being “on schedule” or even early.

Another rationale for this move comes from software engineers who have acknowledged that iTunes is just one hot mess of an interface that needs to be toned down. Add to it the challenges of competing against Spotify and Amazon and there’s a lot of momentum toward shutting the iTunes Music Store down.

Still, Apple says “no.”

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