Something is breaking in iTunes Store music links

Kirk McElhearn, writing on his blog:

Many record labels and artists who sell music on the iTunes Store direct their fans and customers to Apple’s store through links on their websites. However, since Apple Music went live, these links no longer work correctly.

Instead of sending someone to the iTunes Store, where they can buy an album, these links redirect to the Apple Music section of iTunes, or of the Music app on iOS (if the user has Apple Music turned on.)

The same thing occurs if you copy a link from the iTunes Store and use that link, or share it with someone; that link sends people not to the store, but to Apple Music. And, if the album in question isn’t available for streaming, then this link just goes to the main New page in Apple Music.

When I first read this, I was skeptical. A bit of back and forth with Kirk, and I am a believer.

Here’s an experiment I ran. I went to the iTunes Store, picked an album, copied the link, pasted the link in a text. I then clicked on the link in several setups:

  • On my Mac running the latest El Capitan beta, I got the album in the iTunes Store in Safari, but I got sent to Apple Music when I opened the link in Chrome.
  • On my iPhone running the latest iOS 9 Beta, I got Apple Music.
  • On my iPad running iOS 8.4, I got Apple Music.

Remember, this link started as an iTunes Store link. A link that was provided by Apple, not a link I created.

Something funky is happening. Kirk has his finger on it. Something is broken, though it is not clear exactly what is happening. It’s not simply a beta issue, as I got sent to Apple Music from my iPad running the latest public non-beta iOS release. Kirk has a machine running Yosemite and he is consistently getting sent to Apple Music.

Hate to see this.