Apple deny reports that it is retiring the iTunes Music Store from 2019

Spokesperson tells NME that rumours are "not true"

Apple has denied reports suggesting that it is preparing to retire the iTunes Music Store as soon as 2019.

Digital Music News recently reported that a “phase-out” is currently underway, which will complete by early 2019. Apple launched their own streaming service Apple Music back in 2015 – Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the time: “It will change the way you experience music forever”.

The news comes following a severe drop-off in music downloads over the past few years.  Nielsen report that track downloads dropped 24.1% in the US this year, while digital albums slipped 19.9%. A further decline of 30% or more is expected in 2018.

Apple has since denied any plans of a “phase out”, with a spokesperson telling NME that the rumours are “not true”.

Furthermore, Apple is set to buy the popular music recognition app Shazam.

According to TechCrunch, a deal could be finalised over the weekend, with an official announcement coming on Monday (December 11).

The service was launched back in 1999 and was first operated via text message. It allowed users to identify songs by listening to a short audio clip, before revealing the artist and song title. Now, the app is also capable of identifying TV shows, movies and advertisements  – before linking users to their preferred streaming service.

Shazam already integrates with Apple’s Siri and Apple Music, as well as Spotify and Snapchat.