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Media (Apple) Music The Almighty Buck

Why Won't Apple Sell Your iTunes LPs? 306

jfruhlinger writes "Over the weekend there's been a bit of controversy over the fact that Apple has effectively shut indie artists out of the iTunes LP market by charging $10,000 in design fees. But the real question is why Apple is in charge of designing the new iTunes LP at all, since the format is based on open Web design technologies. There's at least one iTunes LP already available outside the iTunes store. Why won't Apple sell it?"
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Why Won't Apple Sell Your iTunes LPs?

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  • LP? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Thelasko ( 1196535 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @09:54AM (#29731239) Journal
    I don't use iTunes so I must be missing something. Do they sell Long Play records on iTunes or does LP stand for something else?
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @09:58AM (#29731277) Homepage Journal

    You mean, can anyone think of a reason better than greed? It's notable that this is basically what IUMA was doing for artists back in the day; they were the pioneers and they didn't charge anything like ten grand for their similar service (which promoted acts via the web long before any software even LIKE iTunes existed.)

    I can think of one other reason: Someone at Apple is seriously deluded. $10,000 will buy a lot of web hosting and SEO. I don't buy for a second the idea that this was pushed on Apple; it seems very much like something Apple would do. They think people are going to pay them these outrageous sums for their design work, but the reality is that their design work outside of computer cases (all impressive examples of which have been done under contract) has always been lackluster at best. Apple's claim to design fame is their nicer version of Garamond.

  • Re:LP? (Score:5, Informative)

    by LordKronos ( 470910 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:08AM (#29731359)

    The LP is part of the move toward providing a more complete product back like they did with CDs, cassettes, and vinyl. With those things, you typically got extra stuff, like elaborate cover and inside art, and song lyrics, and with CDs there could be a data track with videos and other stuff. These are things that have gone by the wayside with digital downloads. Now that we are reaching the point where CD's are becoming a thing of the past for a much larger number of people, there has been an outcry about the loss of all of those extras. The digital LP is a focus to get those things back, so you can have all your extras for the complete experience.

  • Re:LP? (Score:4, Informative)

    by MagicM ( 85041 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:08AM (#29731365)

    From gizmodo []:

    iTunes LPs: These are effectively like bonus CDs for digital albums. Each one comes with extra songs that you only get if you plunk down nearly $20 on the whole album -- you can't download these individually. Along with that, you get video content -- in most cases, live concert recordings -- as well as photo albums and lyrics, which serve as a sort of modern-day liner notes, I guess? It's a bit like buying one of those loaded-up "Digipack" CDs record companies used to release, except on iTunes.

  • Re:LP? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Cheesetrap ( 1597399 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:12AM (#29731415)

    Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, what they're calling an 'LP' is essentially a DVD-style menu for your album. With pics, lyrics and bio - you know, the kind of stuff any 5-year-old can get from google or can be auto-loaded by many modern music players (WinAMP, Amarok, take your pick).

    So on a scale of usefulness from "necessary for human survival" to "would rather have my balls in a vise", it scores about a "meh".

  • by shinma ( 106792 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:23AM (#29731523) Homepage

    Extractor? On a mac, you just have to rightclick on the LP file and do a "show package contents." It's just a bundle that uses HTML5/CSS3.

    Doesn't take a lot of work.

  • Re:LP? (Score:5, Informative)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:28AM (#29731605) Journal

    RCA invented a video-record back in the 1970s. It used a needle and concentric grooves, but instead of touching the platter the needle hovered above the grooves. Using this method they could store 60 minutes of broadcast quality (440x480) analog video on one side of a 12 inch record.

    I still own one of these things. Unfortunately it failed for the same reason LaserDisc failed - it couldn't record live television or home movies as VHS could do. See []

  • by chrisgeleven ( 514645 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:36AM (#29731703) Homepage []

    However, an iTunes spokesman says the fee is fiction. “There is no production fee charged by Apple,” he says. "We're releasing the open specs for iTunes LP soon, allowing both major and indie labels to create their own.”

  • Re:LP? (Score:3, Informative)

    by cyxxon ( 773198 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:49AM (#29731893) Homepage
    The post by PRMan was sarcasm... you can store lyrics and additional art in mp3s...
  • Re:LP? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jitterman ( 987991 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:11AM (#29732223)
    Another example: the new Alice In Chains release includes a few tracks that are (according to iTunes) not on the CD release. For all those who are completists and want to stay "legal" will probably think this is a good thing. Also, the cost of the album is (for now) $9.99, whereas the cost of the various tracks (and you can't get the bonus tracks without buying the album, so they don't even count towards this cost) add up to more than that.
  • Another bogus story? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Lars T. ( 470328 ) <Lars.Traeger@goo ... Ncom minus berry> on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:23AM (#29732363) Journal

    Apple said today that it does not charge a production fee for iTunes LP, after an independent label in the US claimed that it was being priced out of the market for the new format.

  • Re:LP? (Score:5, Informative)

    by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:34AM (#29732503) Homepage

    On a scale from "engine" to "giant Hello Kitty decal for the rear window", it scores about a "windshield wipers on the headlights".

  • by Whalou ( 721698 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:46AM (#29732667)
    From Music Week ( []

    However, an iTunes spokesman says the fee is fiction. There is no production fee charged by Apple, he says. "We're releasing the open specs for iTunes LP soon, allowing both major and indie labels to create their own.

    Not sure who is right, this guy or the guy who quoted the 10k$ figure.

    I guess we'll have to wait and see. Or not if you're not interested in LPs.

  • Re:LP? (Score:2, Informative)

    by rinoid ( 451982 ) * on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:54AM (#29732769)
    Please. Step. Away. From. The. Apple. Is. Evil. And. All. Things. Proprietary. Ledge. []

    The iTunes LP experience is accomplished with HTML 4.01, CSS and JS. The interface feels very Flash-like, but there is no trace of it. The CSS animations are elaborate and smooth. Font files are referenced with an @font-face declaration in the CSS but there seems to be little to no use. Most text, even long passages of lyrics, is represented visually with a PNG file. I wonder if they originally intended to use font replacement for all text, but changed their mind.

    I didn’t find much in the way of DRM on the iTunes LP. Though your iTunes Store Account is recorded inside the .PLIST file, everything worked even when de-authorizing my computer in the middle of play, as well as removing the reference all together.

  • by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <> on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @12:11PM (#29732981)

    No negative moderation needed really, just the link to the story where Apple denies it is charging this 10k fee. []

    I actually think a fee of some sort here would be advisable for the "LP" so that there was at least some barrier to entry so that you couldn't just add a couple of photos and call it an LP and charge £25 for it. If there's a small barrier to entry (10k is not small really) then it would prevent (hopefully) dilution of the "LP" section with copies of Britney's latest musical abortion with a couple of shots of her in rehab rebranded as a "special edition".

    According to the story linked there though, there is no $10k design fee.

  • by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @12:40PM (#29733359)

    Responding to criticism that the iTunes LP format has been priced out of reach for independent musicians and labels, Apple has said it plans to open the format [] in the near future.

    Essentially they will allow anyone to design their own LP and bypass the $10,000 production fee.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @01:19PM (#29733865)

    Guess I could've stopped after typing the subject... but anyway. I'm old enough where I still have LPs in a box somewhere. Thinking back to how often I looked at the liner notes, extras, etc. - the total for a given album varies between zero and one. I just wanted the music back then, and that's the case now.

    I do find it funny (but not surprising; I've been on Slashdot too long to have high expectations) that people here are reacting with outrage, even though the story's been shown to be bogus - Apple says they're not charging a fee for this. Being the control freaks they usually are, they're working on opening it to everyone rather than just letting it out there: "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."

  • by mmeister ( 862972 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @03:06PM (#29735319)

    iTunes store already has "complete my Album" which lets you buy the rest of the album, getting credit for the tracks you've already bought.

    In most cases, albums are generally cheaper than buying all the tracks individually. Based on my experience, it seems to be the case for about 80% of the albums I've looked at (YMMV). And the new LPs even more so (more like 95%).

    As someone else pointed out, the LP appears not to add additional cost to the album to the consumer, so it is throwing in extra goodies to encourage you to go for the album.

    I doubt physical CDs will ever be part of the equation because you can already just burn your own for $.15/CD.

  • Re:LP? (Score:3, Informative)

    by mmeister ( 862972 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @03:48PM (#29735905)

    The tracks are standard 256-bit AAC. No DRM on audio (not sure about video). The videos also come as individual files.

    While the format is web-based, it's not a browse to a website solution.

    My guess is that the iPod app for iPhone will have to be updated to support the extras. Same is true for AppleTV. All the components to support it are there, but they need to be put together.

    I think you're seeing one early step in a multi-step process.

"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe