Ever since Apple revealed their new MacOS 10.15 Catalina, there have been rumblings about how it will impact iTunes. Now that Catalina is out, we have the official answer. The official iTunes as we know will be discontinued after nearly two decades. It will also lose support of the XML file format. iTunes will be rolled into a larger app called Music, which will break up the communication between DJ software and their music.
It is no secret that Apple paid less attention to the iTunes layout as it focused on Apple Music and expanded offerings into podcasts, audiobooks and video. The program was getting really clunky and hard to navigate. However, this new program in OS Catalina, titled Music, could be disastrous for DJs who use Macs. In addition to the Music app, they are breaking things up into Podcasts, TV and Books.
This will impact DJs in a variety of ways. With iTunes gone and given a new facelift, there is another more pressing issue for DJs – XML file support. XML is hugely popular among DJs as a way to sort music into important playlists. Many programs like Traktor or Rekordbox have XML support to read the files that come from iTunes. This allowed users to make playlists in iTunes and then port them over to DJ software for easy use in DJ sets.
Going into a gig without music being organized into playlists could be a nightmare. Since a lot of DJs are Apple users, either through a laptop or their phone, iTunes has become a ubiquitous part of the DJing experience, especially to manage .wav files, bootlegs not officially released or unreleased demos.
Rumors of a manual fix have been unfounded according to The Verge, but Serato is trying out a beta for the new music files in Catalina. Expect other companies to follow suit. However, until the market sorts itself out, avoid upgrading if you are a DJ. Being without your playlists would be quite damaging – much more so than just iTunes disappearing. For DJs, hold off on any upgrades until an update fixes this issue or all DJ software comes up with a Catalina-sized solution. For a company that prices itself on being the solution for creatives, this oversight is quite damning.