Has Apple Ended The Free iTunes Single Of The Week?

freebiesSince the debut of the iTunes Music Store in 2004, there has been one constant for regular visitors on tight budgets: the free single of the week. It exposed users to music in different genres that they didn’t have to pay for. As of the beginning of 2015, it might be gone.

Business Insider first spotted threads on Apple’s own forums and on Macrumors asking about the whereabouts of this week’s free single. News outlets (Consumerist included) have contacted Apple about the disappearance of the free singles, but the company hasn’t yet responded on the record to anyone.

Of course, this makes sense: legal music online is moving toward a streaming model, even if Spotify hasn’t figured out how to turn paying subscribers into a profitable business model yet. Apple itself has both iTunes Radio and Beats Audio, which they can use to expose customers to new music for free. Instead of a download and a license to listen to a song indefinitely, Apple can instead offer us a single stream of that song and the opportunity to buy the entire album or a subscription if we like it.

There are alternative ways to get free iTunes Store downloads: Starbucks, for example, offers free downloads of curated music singles, apps, and TV episodes on cards in its stores and in its payment app, but those are only for iTunes. Apple will continue to offer one app that normally costs a few bucks for free every week, as far as we know. If you know of other sources for free legal downloads in the app and music marketplaces that you use, let us know, and we’ll add them.

Apple apparently cutting back on the freebies, Single of the Week the latest casualty [9to5Mac]