Apple, Labels try to resuscitate the album

According to the Financial Times, Apple is working with EMI, Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music Group “to stimulate digital sales of albums by bundling a new interactive booklet, sleeve notes and other interactive features with music downloads…”

Consumers would be able to play songs directly from the interactive book without clicking back into Apple’s iTunes software, executives said.

“It’s not just a bunch of PDFs,” said one executive. “There’s real engagement with the ancillary stuff.”

Looking at a September launch date, apparently to coincide with a 10-inch tablet computer (essentially a big iTouch). This could be interesting. I’ve often complained that one of the things that’s kept me from giving up (most) physical media entirely is the lack of liner notes, information, etc.

Of course if they really want to stimulate album sales, releasing albums without filler would help, too. And maybe not focusing all the label’s resources on groups that are so blatantly all about the single… You know, like maybe try to promote “album artists” instead of pop stars who have the staying power of a fruit fly.

5 thoughts on “Apple, Labels try to resuscitate the album”

  1. But what you’re asking for is a long-term commitment to developing careers vs. pushing product. The majors aren’t likely to return to that model anytime soon. Remember, even Wilco was profitable, just not profitable enough.

  2. I would not trust anyone to sell me a digital album in the form of an “interactive book” like this. Remember what Amazon just did: Deleted books from people’s Kindles that they had already paid for.

  3. Wilco was/is profitable profitable enough to be signed by another major label. The same one, actually. Which is both funny and sad. But mostly funny.

    To Sab’s point: that’s why it’s a bad idea to “purchase” any product with DRM. You’re not actually purchasing anything: you’re just licensing it.

    I can’t imagine this being cool as long as it’s an iTunes exclusive. If there’s an open format that’s included in Amazon MP3 and emusic, then we’re talking.

    I’ve already gone 90% digital. I purchase maybe one CD a month. Download several (not from iTunes). It would be nice to have decent liner notes included with the downloads.

  4. “Wilco was/is profitable profitable enough to be signed by another major label.”

    Ridiculous outcome aside, they were originally released because they weren’t profitable enough according to retired Reprise honcho Howie Klein. That was my point.

  5. Of course if they really want to stimulate album sales, releasing albums without filler would help, too. And maybe not focusing all the label’s resources on groups that are so blatantly all about the single… You know, like maybe try to promote ‘album artists’ instead of pop stars who have the staying power of a fruit fly.

    Couldn’t agree with you more, brother. But forgive me if I refuse to hold my breath.

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