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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