Report: Apple to Open iTunes LP Format

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Apple is planning on releasing the iTunes LP format to major and indie labels alike, according to a statement released to UK site 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. 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.

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Meh. I understand that some things just aren’t for me. Like Power Rangers, boy bands, reality “stars,” etc. That said, I’m having a difficult time getting my head around why very many people would be very interested in a content wrapper like iTunes LP.

It’s a self-contained web site. I guess it’s interesting that every album could have its own interface. idk, maybe I’m missing something…but I just don’t see the big deal here.

Dean Lewis

You must not be old enough to remember the album experience. OH, sure, sometimes you did buy an album and get some songs that were dogs, but the good artists put some thought and effort into making all the songs fit, what order to listen to them, the artwork and liner notes on the cover which you could hold and marvel at as you listened, etc. It’s an experience which was diminished as CDs took over and artwork became too small to really see and care about and as bands just filled out albums with half-done songs to fulfill contactual obligations.

There’ll always be room for buying individual songs. Even the album age had that with 45s (although then you got another song—from the album or an outtake from it—on the B-side). I welcome the attempt to bring back the art for the electronic format. Whether it’ll be successful or not, I have no idea. Ensuring more bands can more easily create them, though, will help it.


I remember the album experience. Unfortunately,  I no longer fit the demographic… long gone are the days of buying an album and sitting down with it with friends and looking at the art.

I remember the music video experience. The days of rushing home from school to see if “my band’s” video was number 1 on the countdown are long gone too.

They both have their place. I like the idea of the iTunes LP but really don’t care about it either way. Same with music videos.

But the music?... well lives on.


Dean Lewis,

Brilliant analysis. Can you imagine some albums that may not see the light of day if released today? Tommy, Quadrophenia, Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall, Led Zep 1, Imaginary Voyage, Thick as a Brick, and Days of Future Passed all come to mind. Complete, thematic pieces, all of them. Not to forget live albums or classical pieces.

I welcome the album format back if for nothing else than getting background information for a fuller listening experience. Maybe next they can work on balancing sound pressure levels, and bring rich fidelity back to the listening experience.

Bryan Chaffin

What Dean said. smile

I’ll add what I’ve noted before: iTunes LP succeeds in recreating that “album experience” that Dean describes in a way that leverages and accounts for the strengths and weaknesses of the computer screen.

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