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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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  • I'm on the record (ha ha, "record," get it?)

    Did anyone else make it past this? Because nothing (not even a goatse link) makes me stop reading faster than a bad pun.

    Anyway in regards to:

    Why Won't Apple Sell Your iTunes LPs?

    Allow me to make a guess (and all you Apple fans get your negative moderation ready): Apple is bending over for the big labels that want to charge you more for this content you don't own (and also have a sketchy license to) when you purchase it. Now, they can't really DRM it and some people loathe DRM so really it's just bundled images, lyrics and videos. In the good old spirit of security through obfuscation, they think that keeping the creation technology secret to the big five labels prevent word getting out how to 'reverse engineer' this to get the content out so that you can replicate it and use it ... *SHOCKINGLY* ... somewhere else (which brings us back to the unclear licensing terms you're paying for).

    Bottom line is that Apple is making the customer suffer and bating them with paying more for content they're not owning in any sense nor having a clear lifetime license to. Can I print out this artwork and put it on my bedroom wall? I'm guessing not. Personally I'm buying the box set instead.

    Like DRM iTunes songs, it'll fall apart. Anyways, as the summary points out, it's futile. A clever 24 year old in Uruguay just made one. And I love that. I'm betting the open source community will make some extractors if you want the images, videos, lyrics and extras.

  • by buellisti ( 876927 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @09:57AM (#29731267)
    The answer is simple. The labels have made quiet little threats to pull hot product if Apple doesn't charge $10,000.
  • That's easy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tridus ( 79566 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:04AM (#29731319) Homepage

    Because Apple is a big corporation primarly interested in making money. Getting $10000 in design fees is a handy way of making $10000 more then if they just let you put it up for free.

  • by MBCook ( 132727 ) <> on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:09AM (#29731373) Homepage

    I can.

    What if this is to prevent labels from dumping crud into the iTunes store and making iTunes LP look like a joke? By forcing the studios to commit at least so much money to the project, they may only do it for bigger bands and when they can do a good job, instead of just putting 20 images together and just saying "Look! It's an LP" for everything in their catalog.

    Basically, this may be a way to help with initial quality control.

    The question is if it continues or not. Whether it's adjusted up or down, how it starts to work with indie labels, that will be the question.

  • by Crass Spektakel ( 4597 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:22AM (#29731513) Homepage

    Whats the deal?

    Apple is doing evil because they are evil.

    Face it, customer, you are just consumer cattle being milked. You gave Apple a defacto monopoly on online music, now you face the consequences.

    Shut up, don't complain, buy moar, be happy.

  • by RobotRunAmok ( 595286 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:24AM (#29731533)

    I believe that Apple wants to control -- to "curate" -- the new experience of the LP while it is in its nascent stage of marketing. They want to sell these things, they want to convince people they are worth buying, and to accomplish that they cannot let the floodgates open for every garage band to participate before some kind of clear quality benchmarks are established.

    Let's face it: There is a lot of great Open Source software. Open Source design? Not so much...

  • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ReneeJade ( 1649107 ) <> on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:35AM (#29731679)
    I disagree that albums are unhip or dead or anything like that. Anyone who is serious about their music knows that a complete LP should be, and often is, a single work of art. Many artists put a lot of effort into selecting and arranging songs on an album such that it reads like a single story. Albums may be dead among the teeny-boppers, but anyone over the age of 18 who loves music should appreciate the importance of albums. I agree with "who cares" though. I wish people would go down to their local CD shop and buy a record and support a small business instead of feeding some giant middle man like apple. Then you can read the lyrics, see the art, put the songs on your HDD, lend it to your family and do whatever you want with it. I hope albums and CD stores stay alive.
  • by hitmark ( 640295 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:47AM (#29731859) Journal

    so in the end we are right back at apple wanting to deliver that special fairy dust experience that only "they" can deliver...

    talk about marketing machine...

  • Re:LP? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CarpetShark ( 865376 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:51AM (#29731919)

    The digital LP is a focus to get those things back, so you can have all your extras for the complete experience.

    Ahh, so it's like a torrent that comes complete with cover art and an nfo file, then, but overpriced? ;)

  • Re:LP? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:55AM (#29731997)

    "if they had been good, they would have played on the radio"

    you're joking, right?

  • by clickety6 ( 141178 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:58AM (#29732023)

    What if this is to prevent labels from dumping crud into the iTunes store

    Have you heard the pop charts recently ?

  • by NtroP ( 649992 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:58AM (#29732031)

    (and all you Apple fans get your negative moderation ready)

    Apple has already responded: it is "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," without confirming a date for the release.

    You can put your AppleHate thingy back in your pants now. A reasonable assumption might be that Apple wants to get some solid examples out there as a benchmark to ensure quality (since they are charging a premium for the experience) so that we don't get the LP-version of the blink tag on grandma's homepage when we plunk down our hard earned dough. They also may be waiting for the HTML5 standards to be better clarified. Who knows, but the whiny "indie" band isn't willing to admit that what Apple probably told them was along the lines of "We aren't giving it out to just anyone yet. We'd also like to start with albums people have actually heard of. Right now, if you want your album to be an LP we will help you with it, but it will cost you around $10K if you really want it that bad."

    It's amazing how when a company creates a brand and a marketplace that becomes popular everyone steps up and screams that they're "entitled" to it, for free, no less. And they want it NOW. But give it to them now and watch them bitch about how it's not polished enough or how they could have done it better. Apple can't win. It's funny that those who bitch the loudest seem to be the ones who don't even buy from iTunes and probably don't even use Apple products.

  • Re:LP? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vindicator9000 ( 672761 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:06AM (#29732155)
    For real? I've heard people complain that new albums only have a few good songs, and thought it was bunk... if that's the case, you're not listening to the right bands to begin with. Now old albums only have a few good songs?

    What about Zoso? Dark Side of the Moon? Tommy? Van Halen I? Bookends? Electric Ladyland? Brothers in Arms? 2112? I could go into modern examples too, starting with everything Dredg has ever made, and finishing with everything Muse has ever made

    There are thousands of albums that are great, start to finish. What's killing the music industry is not piracy, it's the fact that people no longer have the attention span to sit through a great album, and aren't willing to pay album prices for the singles that the radio has drilled into their heads.

  • Re:LP? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:08AM (#29732183) Journal

    How are you supposed to sort the seeds out of pot on the back of a digital LP?

    Stop buying schwag and the problem takes care of itself ;)

  • Re:LP? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by robmv ( 855035 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:08AM (#29732189)

    (5) Apple start blocking those LPs not made by Apple on iTunes, they will add a hash to verify who build them

  • Re:LP? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jandrese ( 485 ) <> on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:21AM (#29732337) Homepage Journal
    I'd argue that albums where every song is solid is the exception, not the norm. In fact it's pretty rare. There are some famous albmus where everything was good, but far, far more where there are a couple of good songs at the front, a bunch of filler in the middle, then one good song at the end.
  • by Foofoobar ( 318279 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:34AM (#29732505)
    EHHHHHH! An application review is NOT a code review. Thanks for playing.
  • Re:LP? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jvkjvk ( 102057 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @12:11PM (#29732979)

    I think it's insightful to his mindset when he says "if they had been good, they would have played on the radio".

    After that, it's easy to see where he's coming from, not that I agree with this premise.

  • by msimm ( 580077 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @12:40PM (#29733353) Homepage
    As one of you old farts myself let me just say: the more things change the more thing stay the same. Music is still good and people are about as smart as they've ever been and many new albums are good start to finish, but people are exposed to MUCH more music then they have ever been before and digital distribution has absolutely de-emphasized the importance of the concept of album and either of these things might have something to do with the finicky, song-based approach many listeners take today.
  • Re:LP? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GarrettK18 ( 1200827 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @12:56PM (#29733563) Homepage
    I've found that many times the best songs on the album aren't the radio singles. Of course, there are many albums where the only good songs end up on the radio.

    That brings me to another point. Whenever there's a song that's even remotely decent/catchy/ETC on the radio, they play it over and over again until you never want to hear it. Thus, commercial radio rapes good music by repeatedly shoving it down your throat.

  • Re:LP? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by azcodemonkey ( 1040320 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @01:09PM (#29733723)
    Really? I think The Last Resort is one of their best songs. To each his own. ;) The album is pretty solid end to end, IMHO.
  • Re:LP? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @01:19PM (#29733877) Journal

    I'd argue that albums where every song is solid is the exception, not the norm

    True, but then bands that don't suck are also the exception, not the norm. It's pretty easy to find entire albums that are worth listening to if you stick to bands that don't suck...

  • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @01:55PM (#29734401)
    What kind of drugs are you on that make you believe the "bigger bands" with record company backing actually put out better music than indie bands that can't afford to piss away $10,000?
  • Re:LP? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DECS ( 891519 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @04:59PM (#29736965) Homepage Journal

    The idea is that "iTunes LP" would serve as the non-song content you used to get when you bought an album: the beautiful LP cover, lyrics, and other stuff. But upgraded to the digital era.

    The problem with this non-story is that Apple isn't selling iTunes LP extras, it's giving it away when you buy the regular album associated with it.

    It was a defensive move to prevent the labels from inventing their own proprietary format instead. iTunes LPs are just self-contained websites built using web standards: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Apple created a JavaScript framework called TuneKit to allow these "self contained websites" to interact with iTunes, playing content etc.

    The same format is used to deliver iTunes Extras, the same bonus format for movies. Essentially, both are designed to make extremely easy to author bonus content that labels and studios (including indies) can use to add value to their existing work.

    Obviously, Apple doesn't want to launch the new format with a bunch of crap, and taint it with mocking commentary that equates garbage or wierdo music with the format. So it launched the new format with iTunes 9 using a dozen big music acts and a similar number of recent movies. There has been the typical hysterical fit from poorly sourced, half-right "tech news" pieces that claimed Apple hates indies and will charge $10,000 (!) to develop the titles.

    This is clearly all uninformed bullshit because there's no way Apple would develop content for third parties for just $10,000 a pop. Not even a professional authoring artist would do these for that kind of budget. Compare the free involved with authoring a DVD or BluRay disc, or creating all the artwork for a band's website or a multimedia CD-ROM.

    Slashdot picked up the story and keeps trying to bump it up into the air because it sounds bad for Apple. The reality is that this is the best possible album format design anyone in the FOSS community could have hoped for. It's open, you can built it yourself, and kids can even apply some remedial HTML skills to remix their own content downloads. It's the web with a minimal business model.

    New iTunes LP and Extras built using TuneKit Framework, aimed at Apple TV []
    Why Apple is betting on HTML 5: a web history []
    Apple plans to open iTunes LP for independent labels []

  • Re:LP? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by milkmage ( 795746 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @04:41PM (#29749671)

    cheesetrap - why don't you spend some time looking into it before you claim that all the content can be found with google.

    it's what the author decides to put into the LP. Yes, you can google it, unless it's never been released before. I'm not saying every LP contains exclusive material, but it's not necessarily the run-of-the-mill stuff you can find with a google image search.

    since the downloads are HUGE (can be 500MB) I suspect there are more than just a few text files and images.. and not a DVD menu

    this guy bought 2 and pulled them apart.. so "in case anyone was wondering" read the story from someone that actually did a little work.. instead of cheese who apparently gets all his info from google search results. []

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