I still have most of my music on CDs. This has been fine, since I mostly listened in the car. Since I retired recently, I am driving less and would like to put the CDs into iTunes (mostly for my iPads and iPhones). I have already put a small percentage of the CDs into iTunes. Now, I am considering putting the remainder (~200) into iTunes.

But, now that there are rumors that iTunes will be discontinued, is this a dead-end? Most of the existing files are ".m4a" files. Any recommendations?


It is not a rumor - it has been officially announced by Apple that iTunes is going away. It is going to be replaced by Apple Music, Apple TV and Apple Podcasts in the next release of macOS named Catalina.

In practice you'll just start using the Apple Music program for listening to your old ripped CDs instead of using iTunes - so this is definitely not a dead-end. Your iTunes Library will be carried over automatically.

Catalina Features

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    Just in case, I've copied every audio file in my library to a backup directory! – WGroleau Oct 3 '19 at 23:46
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    Suggest linking "officially announced" to some version of the announcement. – WGroleau Oct 3 '19 at 23:48
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    @WGroleau Done. It explains that you don't have to copy audio files to a backup directory... – jksoegaard Oct 3 '19 at 23:53
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    The search string didn't work as a link. I changed it to something that should work. You might prefer something different. – WGroleau Oct 4 '19 at 0:07
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    Obviously a case of mis-paste... I have included the intended link now. – jksoegaard Oct 4 '19 at 0:18

now that there are rumors that iTunes will be discontinued, is this a dead-end?

No, it's not a dead-end. There will ALWAYS be a way to play your own music files ripped from CD.

If not in an app called "iTunes", then in Apple Music, or a 3rd party application such as Winamp.

Continue ripping your CDs and collecting (and backing up!) the .mp3 or .m4a files. You will be able to play them.

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    Agreed. M4A is supported by most software and hardware players. MP3 is the most standard, though, so you might prefer that if you want the widest possible compatibility. (When M4A came out, it gave slightly better sound quality for a given file size, but MP3 can be just as good, especially if you use the lame encoder instead of iTunes' built-in one and choose suitable settings. On macOS you can use an AppleScript to run it straight from iTunes.) – gidds Oct 4 '19 at 8:44
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    "There will ALWAYS be a way to play your own music files ripped from CD" - looking at the direction the industry has been heading in: with device-makers leaning towards the (more profitable) walled-garden ecosystem compared to the truly open-platforms we enjoyed previously, it wouldn't surprise me if a future iPhone or Android device simply removed support for having all of your MP3s on your iPhone and required you to use Apple Music or Spotify and the like - after-all, who wants to spend 2-3 hours to sync ~200GB+ of music to a device in 2019? Especially when LTE speeds are almost everywhere. – Dai Oct 4 '19 at 11:33

You'll still be able to play your music, even if you have to use other programs. For instance, the free and popular VLC multimedia player plays music in several formats, including mp3 and m4a.

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