itunes

A leaked email has sparked fears over the future of music downloads from Apple iTunes as it claims that the tech giant will stop taking new iTunes LP (long play) submissions as of this month.

Metro.co.uk reported that it has been shown an internal email titled 'The End of iTunes LPs', sent to people working in the music business announcing the withdrawal of 'LPs' from the iTunes store.

LPs were launched in 2009 and it helped the users to buy albums with additional elements such as bonus tracks and videos. Industry experts told Daily Mail that LPs could be the first of several major changes from iTunes to keep up with subscription-based streaming platform Spotify.

The email was sent two weeks ago from an address at 'The iTunes Store,' and was signed by 'The Apple Music Team.' The email, featuring a heading called 'The End of iTunes LPs', stated that the Cupertino-based company was planning to remove – or 'deprecate' – these music bundles.

"Apple will no longer accept new submissions of iTunes LPs after March 2018. Existing LPs will be deprecated from the store during the remainder of 2018," the email read. "Customers who have previously purchased an album containing an iTunes LP will still be able to download the additional content using iTunes Match."

Metro.co.uk quoted the source as saying: "It's clear that streaming is the future. Apple wants to push people to take out subscriptions."

Meanwhile, Apple has confirmed to tech site The Verge that existing LPs will continue to be available.

However, this is not the first time when there has been speculations over the future of iTunes. Last year, several reports claimed that Apple was planning to stop offering downloads and move people to a subscription model by 2019. But, the tech giant had denied such rumours.

Mark Mulligan, an analyst at MIDiA Research and music industry blogger, told the Metrothat the announcement was "potential evidence" of Apple's future plans. Earlier, Mulligan had predicted that Apple will shutdown the iTunes Music Store by 2020.

"This could show Apple will turn off its download store at some point," he said. "At some stage in the future, Apple having an iTunes music store will be as incongruous as Currys selling black and white TVs."