updated 09:45 am EDT, Wed March 30, 2011
iTunes LP format failing to catch on, say execs
Universal, EMI, and other entities in the music industry are looking at distributing more albums as iPad apps, according to the New York Times. Universal has already partnered with a company called Eagle Rock Entertainment to do iPad versions of movies about famous albums such as Nirvana's Nevermind, with added social networking; EMI recently published a $10 iPad version of Until One, a new album by the Swedish House Mafia. The app includes photos, documentary videos, and written comments by the band. Icelandic artist Bjork has announced that a project called Biophilia will involve "music, apps, Internet, installations and live shows."
For their publishers, apps serve as a method of persuading people to spend on a full album rather than individual tracks. A complaint of record labels has been that because services like iTunes allow people to buy the standout tracks on an album while ignoring everything else, the industry has lost out on a traditional source of revenue. iPad apps, though, do not allow people to extract music for playback elsewhere.
A move towards apps may reflect disappointment with the iTunes LP format. Both offer extras such as art, lyrics and video, but music executives reportedly say that iTunes LP has failed to gain much traction. The technology is comparatively limited; while the music itself can be played anywhere, the extras are only accessible on a computer with iTunes or an Apple TV.