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Apple says it isn't going to stop selling music downloads

"Not true."

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Drake has been a big part of the Apple Music story.
Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

The future of music is streaming, not downloads.

But that doesn't mean Apple, the company that essentially invented the market for music download sales, is going to stop selling downloads anytime soon.

That's contrary to a report today that said Apple planned to stop selling downloads in two years — or, alternately, "the next 3-4 years."

"Not true," said Apple rep Tom Neumayr.

Neumayr wouldn't expand on that comment, except to make it clear that he was responding to both timelines proposed in today's story from Digital Music News.

If he did want to say more, I imagine that he would argue that lots of people continue to buy downloads — and even physical discs. Case in point: Drake's new album "Views," which sold a million copies in its first week — which happened to be the week it was available exclusively on Apple Music and at Apple's iTunes store.

And yes, download sales are in a steady decline and have been for some time. Download sales in the U.S. dropped from $2.8 billion in 2013 to $2.3 billion last year, according to the RIAA industry trade group.

Still, both Apple and the music labels it works with don't have any incentive to push downloads off a cliff.

And it's easy to see Apple's insistence on servicing the download market in the clumsy approach it took when it debuted its Apple Music streaming service last year, which tried — unsuccessfully — to stitch together its old iTunes store with the new streaming service.

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