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Financial Times reports that Apple is working with the four largest record labels to stimulate digital album sales by bundling a new interactive booklet, sleeve notes and other interactive features with music downloads.

While digital downloads are popular, the majority of those downloads are of individual tracks rather than full albums. According to those familiar with the talks, the project is codenamed "Cocktail" and aimed for a September launch. FT describes them as an interactive experience:
"It's all about re-creating the heyday of the album when you would sit around with your friends looking at the artwork, while you listened to the music," said one executive familiar with the plans.

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."
The newspaper also tries to tie Apple's rumored tablet to these rumors, though there appears to be no direct connection between the products.

Article Link: Apple and Record Labels to Bundle Interactive Booklets with Music Downloads
 

Bjohnson33

macrumors 6502
Mar 4, 2006
265
1
I think that could be pretty cool. I don't miss album artwork to any huge degree, but if it doesn't cost any extra, I won't complain about having something extra with my download!
 

balamw

Moderator
Aug 16, 2005
19,366
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New England
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The connection tenuous as it may be us that CD sized booklets and art pale in comparison to their LP counterparts. So Steve is going somewhere in between with a 10" iPhone OS device optimized for this new booklet interface.

Ok so it is a stretch. I just want a tablet even if it runs iPhone OS.

B
 

Mr Skills

macrumors 6502a
Nov 21, 2005
803
1
If "sitting around with your friends looking at the artwork" now involves crowding round a computer screen, I'm not sure it's going to be quite the same social experience :p
 

SpaceKitty

macrumors 68040
Nov 9, 2008
3,204
1
Fort Collins Colorado
Booklets would be nice but I've forgotten about any that I have downloaded with purchases already and as a result, I no longer have them. They were lost when transfering music to new computers. I never thought to look for the booklets.

When I did download them with a purchase, I was lucky if I looked at them once. These booklets aren't a big deal for me.
 

balamw

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Aug 16, 2005
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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_0 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7A341 Safari/528.16)

Just like album art is done by all media players, but cover flow brings back the feel of flipping through bins of LPs. This could be cool if implemented right.

B
 

Peace

Cancelled
Apr 1, 2005
19,546
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If the interactive nature of this album is meant to looked at and passed around like in the old days it can only be done on a device like the tablet. And if it has a Sept. timeframe it's only obvious that the tablet would come out at the same time.

And I could imagine handing a 10" tablet to friends in the living room while listening to the music. I can also see tying this feature in with a new Apple TV.

Hand in hand. So to speak.
 

Legolai

macrumors member
Apr 3, 2009
71
0
people are only going to buy an album for the music thats on it, not because it comes with another way to play it on your computer, and to be fair there hasnt been an excellent album for ages anyway, I know people have different tastes in music but even looking at the UK iTunes chart, theres 2 big albums from christmas and lady gaga was released in september, the album chart is so stale at the moment, Last year when i was working in a CD & DVD shop the CD chart never used to change its all the same stuff week in week out, unless someone releases something big, or someone dies.
 

Schtumple

macrumors 601
Jun 13, 2007
4,904
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benkadams.com
I think you guys are trying too hard to force on a tablet onto this...

I think it's a good idea though, good way to give "something extra" over the norm.
 

Icaras

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Mar 18, 2008
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Schtumple said:
I think you guys are trying too hard to force on a tablet onto this...

I think it's a good idea though, good way to give "something extra" over the norm.

But I think Peace has a good theory on it. I was thinking the same thing. Give it a more robust "remote" app like on the iPhone but with all the interactive album art stuff they're talking about and I could see that as a real selling point for the tablet. If not something really cool at least.
 

talkingfuture

macrumors 65816
Dec 4, 2008
1,216
0
The back of beyond.
I like the part of their report about the tablet coming before christmas. Not sure how confident I am in it's accuracy though.

Can't help but feel they are flogging a dead horse a little with the push for album sales. Perhaps bands should look more to regular single releases of their best material rather than a periodical collection of songs of varying quality.
 

314631

macrumors 6502a
May 12, 2009
909
0
iDeaded myself
Given that CDs are often cheaper than the MP3 album download, it's probably not surprising that people would opt for the physical retail product. You get the art work, a physical copy of the music, and then the ability to rip that product into a format and bit rate of your choice when you get home.

I still buy CDs and love collecting music stored in physical form. I have no interest in building a huge collection of legal mp3 downloads, even if Apple decides to bundle some of the artwork. It will never be the same.
 

BlueRevolution

macrumors 603
Jul 26, 2004
6,054
2
Montreal, QC
Just like album art is done by all media players, but cover flow brings back the feel of flipping through bins of LPs. This could be cool if implemented right.

Do you really think that? Cover Flow has never given me that feeling. It's about the least practical presentation of data I've seen, and it doesn't even look that nice. In my opinion it's Apple's worst failure of interface design in recent memory, and they keep putting it in more and more places. The original Cover Flow application (before Apple bought it) was presented much better, with additional subtle graphics effects like having the mouse cursor's movement change the perspective slightly. That was all lost in Apple's implementation.


I love the quote about "real engagement with the ancillary stuff". Now that the album art is there, the music has now become "ancillary stuff". Interesting. Pretty soon we'll just be buying the booklets and they'll save us the hassle of those wasted seconds spent downloading ancillary music with our albums.

I realize the point of this is to entice people to purchase entire albums. I almost always do so anyway. The artists I favour tend to have the rare quality of having more than one worthwhile song per album, and I find that as I listen to an album again and again my preferences change and I discover that I didn't like my originally-favoured song that much or I notice a gem that hadn't jumped out at me before.
 

guycarmeli

macrumors newbie
Jul 27, 2009
14
0
iTunes is not the reason people don't buy albums

Like Legolai said, there hasn't been a decent album in years. The record labels are responsible for whoring the music industry since the 80's by producing quick mainstream hits to promote mediocre albums. This is the American Idol way.
Ambitious and experimental music projects like those of great musicians of the 70's for example, have no place today in the big record labels; so indie labels rose as response, but they are not as influential, and are still labeled as "Alternative".
Now the record labels are trying to mend the situation they've created. The result of short minded capitalism.

people are only going to buy an album for the music thats on it, not because it comes with another way to play it on your computer, and to be fair there hasnt been an excellent album for ages anyway, I know people have different tastes in music but even looking at the UK iTunes chart, theres 2 big albums from christmas and lady gaga was released in september, the album chart is so stale at the moment, Last year when i was working in a CD & DVD shop the CD chart never used to change its all the same stuff week in week out, unless someone releases something big, or someone dies.
 

Cleve

macrumors regular
Jun 7, 2007
195
0
Seemed like the artlicle was 80% tablet

"The newspaper also tries to tie Apple's rumored tablet to these rumors, though there appears to be no direct connection between the products."

It seemed more like a Tablet rumor with a tie in to these cocktail rumors
 

trasheff

macrumors newbie
Jul 27, 2009
3
0
The music industry has long criticised and blamed illegal downloads for 'killing' the music industry; it's nice to see them attempting to address the issues and change their business models in order to provide people with greater incentive to use legal means to acquire their music.

Whether it'll have any effect is of course another thing, but providing they don't use this as an excuse to raise prices it can't be a bad thing, and who knows, people might actually find they like it!
 

entropys

macrumors 6502a
Jan 5, 2007
950
1,709
Brisbane, Australia
While this might sound nice in theory (a rather shallow theory), the first line had the interest killer right there:

Apple is working with the four largest record labels

So... who wants to bet this 'product' will cost more than the album would be on itunes anyway?

Seriously, the more I think about it, it's an idea that probably started amongst a bunch of incontinent ol' baby boomers reminiscing their glory days in the '70's in some bong laden smoky room with tie dye curtains, beads, lava lamp and a clapped out carpet that has given its all as an ashtray wherever the moths hadn't had first dibs.


edit: But if it keeps the labels on board, more power to Jobs.
 

zacheryjensen

macrumors 6502a
May 11, 2009
797
180
I am a lover album art, at least, when it's good album art anyway. I think when an artist really cares about what they are producing, and they are the type of artist that makes sets of music and an album to them isn't just a string of randomly tossed together "hope for singles" crap, then the art begins to show another side of their vision.

So that said, we have already had somewhat interactive album art with Zero 7's The Garden as one example. I hope what they have in mind is less hokey and absolutely nothing like the horrid Magazine-on-CD failures we saw in the latter half of the nineties.

Personally I'd like to see these things in the form of free bundled apps for the iPhone OS devices. Granted, that leaves out a few non-iPhoneOS stragglers, but honestly it's clear that is the direction Apple's headed with all their devices, so may as well start upping the desirables now.
 

rapideye

macrumors newbie
Jul 27, 2009
3
0
I love the quote about "real engagement with the ancillary stuff". Now that the album art is there, the music has now become "ancillary stuff". Interesting. Pretty soon we'll just be buying the booklets and they'll save us the hassle of those wasted seconds spent downloading ancillary music with our albums.

i think the quote is referring to the graphics, video, and other content as the ancillary stuff -- not the music. in which case the point is simply that the visual content is interactive rather than a flat reproduction of album images.
 

zacheryjensen

macrumors 6502a
May 11, 2009
797
180
The music industry has long criticised and blamed illegal downloads for 'killing' the music industry; it's nice to see them attempting to address the issues and change their business models in order to provide people with greater incentive to use legal means to acquire their music.

Whether it'll have any effect is of course another thing, but providing they don't use this as an excuse to raise prices it can't be a bad thing, and who knows, people might actually find they like it!

I don't care if the price is higher as long as it's not a lock-in. What I mean is, if the price must be higher for some sort of special release edition, there should still be normal editions. This is already often the case even on the iTMS where you might buy a special release edition with several music videos attached for a few bucks more.

Frankly adding value like this, assuming it is valuable to target consumers, is the *RIGHT* way to go about raising prices. The wrong way is what they've done recently which is simply to hold freedom hostage for a ransom of more confusing, irrational price increases and variations.
 

zacheryjensen

macrumors 6502a
May 11, 2009
797
180
Like Legolai said, there hasn't been a decent album in years. The record labels are responsible for whoring the music industry since the 80's by producing quick mainstream hits to promote mediocre albums. This is the American Idol way.
Ambitious and experimental music projects like those of great musicians of the 70's for example, have no place today in the big record labels; so indie labels rose as response, but they are not as influential, and are still labeled as "Alternative".
Now the record labels are trying to mend the situation they've created. The result of short minded capitalism.

I find your claim about there not being a decent album in years absolutely ridiculously wrong. Just because you haven't been able to find albums you like doesn't mean they don't exist. And you can't blame the industry for pushing out what the market is buying on the conventional channels.

The internet provides a whole host of excellent new ways to find music you like without any worries about what is or is not mainstream. Look at the recommendation service of apple itself! The genius system for example, is, quite well named honestly. And then add in services like Rhapsody which will do similar though more static referencing. Interact with last.fm to automatically find other people who like music you like and see what else they like, use the music genome service (aka pandora) to find other music you might not have considered before.

If you can't find music you like, you can't blame the industry, there is no shortage of music in every conceivable genre being produced and released all year every year. You simply have to make an effort to find it yourself.
 
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