Why Won't Apple Let You Release Your Music As An iTunes LP?

And Why Are There Still Only A Baker's Dozen iTunes LP Releases?      09/10/09
Why Won't Apple Let You Release Your Music As An iTunes LP?

When Steve Jobs got on the stage recently and introduced the latest version of iTunes, he highlighted a new feature, the iTunes LP, that was supposed to herald the "visual experience of the record album":

Experience a beautifully designed, interactive world right in your iTunes library on a Mac or PC — many are created by the artists. While you listen to your favorite songs, you can dive into animated lyrics and liner notes, watch performance videos, view artist and band photos, and enjoy other bonus materials. And become an even bigger fan.

That sounds flippin' awesome, Apple.

So....why are there still only a paltry thirteen iTunes LP releases? And that's counting the Dave Matthews album.

Label owner Brian McKinney, who runs indie label Chocolate Lab Records, wondered the same thing:

I contacted the digital distribution manager at my label's distributor. He had a conference call with an iTunes rep and asked how we go about putting an LP together. He was told that LPs aren't being offered to indies and that there are only about 12 LPs being offered right now. They also said that iTunes charges a $10,000 production fee for them as well. So that pretty much edges out the indie market completely.

At $10,000 a pop, it's no wonder that there aren't any available.

Why Can't We Make iTunes LP Releases?

It's not because iTunes LP files are hard to build.

Web developer Jay Robinson recently dug into an iTunes LP file to see what they are made of. He found that the iTunes LP interface is built with HTML, CSS and Javascript. The same standards that are used to build pretty much every Web page on the Net.

Based on Robinson's findings, building an iTunes LP file looks like it would be a fairly easy task for anyone that can lay out a CD cover or build a Web page.

Opening up iTunes LP would be a great opportunity for indie bands, would result in a flood of new content formatted for iTunes and would be a treat for music fans.

Apple's not talking about the future for iTunes LP - but if it's only going to be available for a handful of releases, it's already deader than vinyl or even 8-track tapes.

Why do you think that Apple's limited iTunes LP to a few major label releases? And would you make an iTunes LP release if you could?


James Lewin
Twitter @podcasting_news


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5 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
Mark    Said...

Because apple's too stingy to let people release poor quality products.

10-Oct-09 03:43 AM

Roger De Courcey    Said...

10k for the animatronics and vids etc, and i take it the artist supplies EVERYTHING. So , other than the coding, what do the itunes team do ? Its tough as it is , what with marketing and composing, together with production, mastering et al all handled by the artists themselves.

In effect, its only the biggies who can do this, cause theyll hire a team, who is paid by their own team , to pay the team at itunes to deliver.


10-Oct-09 05:44 AM

DBM    Said...

Well ... This is an experiment to: push the album format vs. singles Conceived by apple as a solution to save major labels / a value vs. p2p / A new format vs. Apples past tried and true . I imagine if it works out they will open it up .... assuming it is apple who owns the LP format exclusively .

That said I hope it works out as I have been planing to to something like this myself since 1999 but never could find a format I thought would work .

10-Oct-09 12:05 PM

Sammy    Said...

This is nonsense. And this is exactly why I never bother to write music anymore. No one would appreciate it even if it were stellar.

11-Oct-09 11:00 PM

Trevor    Said...

Read a short Q&A with Brian McKinney @


12-Oct-09 02:15 PM

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