Personally, I really like iTunes for managing my music library. I really like the ability to mange metadata, make smart playlists, have access to comprehensive scriptable elements (for which I rely on Doug’s AppleScripts), and have great flexibility in organizing my music. I have spent hours and hours creating organizational methods to handle my classical music library, my rock library, and the like–for me it’s a hobby, not work. Any excuse to interact with the music and mull over what it means and how I enjoy it, is great for me. I wish Apple Music would absorb the tools and give users such great power. (It irritates me, for example, that on iTunes I can paste in custom lyrics when the song file does not have them, but I cannot on Apple Music.) For this reason alone, I want to see iTunes be maintained and improved.
As far as the criticisms about other facets. Most of them seem like silly complaints about things that aren’t really problems. The store part integrated with iTunes makes logical sense to me. Podcasts and audiobooks seem logical enough to include with iTunes. But I could see a case for moving audiobooks to… well… Apple Books.
One could have created another tool to sync and back up data rather than use iTunes, but does that really merit the hate? Admittedly, it seems seems like a weird design choice today, but the program is simple enough to use, it runs fine (I’ve never had really sluggish-ness issues with iTunes), and the UI is not unusably byzantine. I know it’s not an honor to say something is good so long as it’s not byzantine (that is plenty of room for improvement in the UI department). I just mean to say that while the criticisms of the UI may be right in terms of best practices and appearance, they are over-the-top in terms of the actual functionality of the tool.
I do agree with @DrJJWMac about this specific point:
I’m not bothered by the consolidation of of music/music store/podcasts/movies/TV. But I do agree it would be preferable to consolidate functions into the tool-sets they belong in and not have overlapping functions in iTunes. The photos example is a good illustration of this.
[SIDE NOTE: For any of us who may be unrelenting adherents to the Unix philosophy, I suppose iTunes could not be described as anything but an abomination, but that is a subject for another post!]
My enjoyment of iTunes does not blind me to the problems of iTunes. I have had to rebuild my library so many times that I created a hazel rule that essentially triple backs up my library so I rarely lose any work.