The shock and panic must have been clear on my face because my wife says she’s never seen me more emotionally distraught. It was late on the night of September 10, 2011. We’d just returned from my son’s third birthday party, and I was staring at my iPod with the sinking realization that my iTunes library of 7,000 songs had just disappeared after I’d hooked it up to a stereo system to DJ the event. And it wasn’t backed up!
It was almost impossible to comprehend—this was years of tracks I’d burned from my collection of 4,000 vinyl records, 1,000 CDs, illegally downloaded MP3s, and a handful of songs I’d actually purchased on iTunes. It took countless hours to build this collection, and I was proud of its eclecticism, ranging from bootleg hip-hop remixes and Turkish funk singles to live recordings of the Replacements and Pablo Casals’s renditions of Beethoven’s cello sonatas. It was the ultimate Gen-X tragedy. I was crushed, depleted, a shell of a man.
But I survived. Life went on, and a few
weeks months later, I wasn’t missing my music. Like some pre-Marie Kondo life lesson, it was actually cathartic to let go of all those lines of code that I was hoarding on my iPod. Instead of fanatically playing and replaying music that had barnacled on me over the decades, suffocating me with the past, I was liberated. I started playing the radio (!), going to more concerts, discovering new music through word of mouth and (eventually) Pandora and Spotify.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t wince last week when I read the news that Apple is pulling the plug this fall on iTunes—its destination for consuming digital media for 20 years—immediately wondering: What does that mean for everyone’s library of music and movies and podcasts and more? Maybe it would be therapeutic to have it all purged, but don’t worry: Apple isn’t pulling a Kondo. All of your random iTunes content will be safe and secure. Just that instead of existing in one place, it will now be accessible via these three dedicated apps: Music, Podcasts, and TV.
“Users will have access to their entire music library, whether they downloaded the songs, purchased them or ripped them from a CD,” Apple stated in a press release.
Or you could just scrap it all, pick up a guitar, and head off into the sunset.