updated 09:30 am EDT, Tue June 10, 2014
Developers asked to remove downloading functions
Apple appears to be targeting music downloading apps for removal at the iOS App Store, and is moreover skewing related search results, accounts say. Some developers say they are being asked to remove audio download functions from their titles. When searching for the term "music download" at the App Store, the first result is now an ad for iTunes Radio, and the next highest ones are for primarily streaming-based apps, such as Spotify (which does however allow temporary offline listening).
Prior to this week, the same search would list a variety of apps capable of pulling sound from sites like Soundcloud and YouTube. In some cases the apps even appeared in the store's Top Charts section.
The reason for the sudden crackdown is unknown, but many of the affected downloading apps are questionable in terms of their legality and adherence to App Store rules. Apple is also presumably hoping to push people into getting music from iTunes Radio and the iTunes Store, and looking to clean up search results before the App Store's fall overhaul for iOS 8. Apple is changing its search algorithms, and introducing an "Explore" feature intended to make it easier to find new apps.