Apple is planning on releasing the iTunes LP format to major and indie labels alike, according to a statement released to UK site ElectricPig.com. The statement comes after rumors recently hit that Apple was charging some US$10K for the right to make iTunes LP versions of albums, which could explain why there are only 14 or of such titles so far.
"We're releasing the open specs for iTunes LP soon, allowing both major and indie labels to create their own. There is no production fee charged by Apple," the company said in its statement.
While there are but 14 iTunes LP titles at iTunes, an indie band called Tryad recently claimed the honor of having the first indie iTunes LP release. iLongPlay.com took the band's album Listen, which was released under the Creative Commons license, and developed an iTunes LP version on its own initiative.
Should Apple follow through with its plan to release the format as an open spec, it would make it substantially easier for other bands, especially indie bands, to not only develop their own iTunes LP albums, but to get them onto iTunes.
Releasing the format as an open source would seem to be in Apple's best interest - it's purpose is to increase the purchase of albums as whole works, rather than the purchase of singles, which has become increasingly popular with the growth of iTunes.
That is, of course, unless Apple had thought the music world would beat a ten thousand dollar path to its door, turning iTunes LP into a direct revenue source. Until memoirs from current Apple execs hit the street in ten or twenty years, however, we aren't likely to know what Apple's thoughts were on this format.