Apple’s recent activity in the App Store could provide some interesting clues into the company’s future plans for music. As a few eagle-eyed users have pointed out, Apple is apparently cracking down on third-party music downloading apps, which allow iPhone owners to obtain music files from other sites.
Previously, a cursory search for “music download” in the App Store called up dozens of apps, several of which shared the not-so-subtle name “Free Music Download.” Now, try and do the same and you’ll get a message to try iTunes Radio, as well as links to Spotify and other services that don’t allow you to download music directly.
iTunes Radio, of course, provides a convenient funnel directly to iTunes, where users can purchase music legally, while Apple keeps 30% of the profits. At the very least, the crackdown seems to pretty clearly indicate that Apple is prioritizing music again, now with Beats under its umbrella and with the public release of iOS 8 just a few months away.