Changes to the iTunes Affiliate Linking Program Announced

UPDATE: The article below has been updated to reflect the fact that if a user does not subscribes to Apple Music, affiliate links may still link to the iTunes Store. To ensure that your users are taken where you want them to go, use the "app=itunes" parameter to send them to the iTunes Store and the "app=music" parameter to send them to Apple Music.

Earlier today, Apple announced a change in the way that affiliate links for music are handled. By default, affiliate links to music will now open the new Apple Music app where the music can be streamed. This change means a couple of things for people who use affiliate links to share music.

First, the affiliate link program has been extended to the Apple Music streaming service. If someone uses a link that includes your affiliate credentials to stream music and then extends their subscription at least 30 days beyond the free trial period, you will get a one-time commission. How much you get is listed in this table. In the US, for instance, the comission is currently $5.

Second, links to music now take users to the iTunes Store or Apple Music depending on whether they subscribe to Apple Music. To ensure that users are sent to the iTunes Store, you just need to add an additional parameter to your affiliate URLs: "&app=itunes". Similarly, to ensure that users are sent to Apple Music, add the parameter "app=music" to your affiliate URLs. Note that the parameters, including your affiliate credentials and the new "app=itunes" parameter need to be separated from the base URL by a "?", which is not a new requirement. So for example,

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/cool-for-the-summer-single/id1013069897?app=music

will take you to Apple Music where you can stream the sone, while

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/cool-for-the-summer-single/id1013069897?app=itunes

takes you to the iTunes Store where you can buy the song. Note also that an "&" need only precede "app=itunes if it is not the first parameter after the "?" in the link.

If you use my app, Blink: Better Affiliate Links to generate affiliate links, the music links you generate with it will currently take your users to the Music app where you may earn a commission if a user signs up for Apple Music service. If you would rather send users to the iTunes Store, you will need to manually add the "app=itunes" parameter for now, but I am working on an update to Blink that will let you automate this process.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to hit me up on Twitter -- @johnvoorhees.