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iTunes LP Format Opening Up to Additional Major and Indie Record Labels

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There has been a fair amount of discussion about Apple's plans for its iTunes LP [iTunes link] line of enhanced album content in recent days after Gizmodo reported on a small indie record label owner who claimed that an Apple representative had notified his distributor that iTunes LP releases require a $10,000 production fee from the label, effectively limiting the feature to larger labels able to afford such costs.
I contacted the digital distribution manager at my label's distributor. He had a conference call with an iTunes rep and asked how we go about putting an LP together. He was told that LPs aren't being offered to indies and that there are only about 12 LPs being offered right now. They also said that iTunes charges a $10,000 production fee for them as well. So that pretty much edges out the indie market completely.
Apple, however, has recently responded to these claims to deny that there is any production fee involved and to reveal that the company plans to open up the format to all labels in the near future to allow for rapid expansion beyond the dozen or so offerings currently available in the iTunes LP format.
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.
While the iTunes LP format appears to be rather simple to duplicate and has even led to several non-Apple projects and do-it-yourself tutorials popping up, the expected release of authorized Apple specs for the format to allow for official distribution through the iTunes Store will certainly come as good news for artists and labels looking for ways to enhance their products.

Article Link: iTunes LP Format Opening Up to Additional Major and Indie Record Labels
 

anthonyjr

macrumors regular
Sep 27, 2007
114
128
I'm really anticipating this. I enjoy the concept, and it would be nice to see some of my favorite artists have the ability to release content with interactive artwork.

It's sad to see print media dissipate, but sometimes things change.
 
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machan

macrumors regular
May 7, 2003
150
0
wisconsin
McKinney was given the info by his label's digital distributor so chances are the distributor is the one that's collecting the $10,000 fee. Either McKinney missed that point when he was told OR the distributor lied about the fee being a requirement from Apple in order to cash in on unsuspecting artists/labels.
 
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zombitronic

macrumors 65816
Feb 9, 2007
1,115
6
I'd love to get my hands on this format so I can turn my DVDs into iTunes LP files, with menus, special features and all.
 
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VenusianSky

macrumors 65816
Aug 28, 2008
1,290
47
Read this on Slashdot. I had to Google iTunes LP to see what it even is. When I see "LP" in regards to music, I think "long playing". Guess it stands for something else.

It will be interesting to see some of these LP releases, but if there is a price increase on the LP, I will pass. I would like to see this stuff offered at the already standard download prices.
 
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powers74

macrumors 68000
Aug 18, 2008
1,852
14
At the bend in the river
Ten grand?

That's totally weird. I wonder why that number got thrown around.

I guess this was posted as I was posting, but it makes sense..

McKinney was given the info by his label's digital distributor so chances are the distributor is the one that's collecting the $10,000 fee. Either McKinney missed that point when he was told OR the distributor lied about the fee being a requirement from Apple in order to cash in on unsuspecting artists/labels.
 
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Drumjim85

macrumors 68030
Oct 7, 2007
2,601
224
DFW, TX
McKinney was given the info by his label's digital distributor so chances are the distributor is the one that's collecting the $10,000 fee. Either McKinney missed that point when he was told OR the distributor lied about the fee being a requirement from Apple in order to cash in on unsuspecting artists/labels.

or C) Apple is quickly backpedaling, sorta like the whole Google Voice FCC mess.
 
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skate71290

macrumors 6502a
Jan 14, 2009
556
0
UK
Can't Even Find iTunes LP on iTunes?

i cant actually find the iTunes LPs on iTunes 9, i had to use the link above? i would like to see a lot of my albums get this same treatment, it looks pretty cool :)
 
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MikeDTyke

macrumors 6502a
Sep 7, 2005
661
0
London
I love how people immediately jump to the conclusion that Apple is evil based on every unsubtantiated comment anyone ever makes about them.

Whether Apple always intended the specs to be open and allow anyone to create them, which seems sorta likely based on the technologies they've used.

Or had intended to charge $10,000 to produce one for a band. Not a bad price considering the amount of work needed to produce a highly customized multimedia experience. ie. media editing, web layout, coding behaviours and animations. All to a professional standard. You could easily blow that on a decent website. It's not evil if they wanted to ensure the quality was up to power, it's their store after all.

Fact is that as it's built on open technologies, you'll not only have 3rd parties producing them, but also companies like adobe wanting to sell you tools for non-coders wanting to build their own. You'll also have people converting DVD's in their entirety with all the extras to the iTunes LP format. Both officially by the film companies and to the chagrin of said film companies.
Plus if this is to be the new ebook wonderformat, well it seems like it's open playing field for all.

With the subtle exception of DRM being only available via the iTunes store. Ok maybe they're a little evil....
 
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nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,196
I love how people immediately jump to the conclusion that Apple is evil based on every unsubtantiated comment anyone ever makes about them.

I really like Apple products, but even I am too quick to assume some random concrete statement (like $10000 forced fees) is true.

It didn't sound like much to me since I'd easily charge that myself as a freelancer. But the obvious question--is this REALLY true?--didn't cross my mind.

I'm glad the tools are being given to anyone. It's understandable to start with just a few labels, since the system is new.
 
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BaldiMac

macrumors 604
Jan 24, 2008
7,411
7,661
or C) Apple is quickly backpedaling, sorta like the whole Google Voice FCC mess.

Or D) Apple charged a production fee to the initial participants in the program and produced the content themselves in order to create quality examples for the initial roll out. No production fee would be involved going forward, because Apple will not be doing the production.
 
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Fenevadka

macrumors newbie
Nov 14, 2007
3
0
Or D) Apple charged a production fee to the initial participants in the program and produced the content themselves in order to create quality examples for the initial roll out. No production fee would be involved going forward, because Apple will not be doing the production.

This seems the most likely. If Apple was doing the production, I'm sure they'd charge for it. So there is really no contradiction between $10,000 and no charge, depending on what you're talking about. Not that that will stop about 200 others from repeating the same comments about Apple being inconsistent, backpedaling, etc., without bothering to look at the thread first...
 
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benpatient

macrumors 68000
Nov 4, 2003
1,870
0
Here's the deal.

Apple contracted out the initial development of these LP things to one design firm, and they paid them anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 dollars per project. They are basically fancy Flash websites embedded with itunes cross links and some other custom things.

That company was (and still is) WAY overcharging for its services. I don't want to name names, but let's just say that the Kanye West one cost Apple (and thus the label) more than 30,000 dollars, not including the production costs for the actual videos and other extras that were included in the LP as bonus materials.

Don't hold your breath waiting for an indie label to fork over that kind of money for something that quite honestly is just an experiment for Apple. They should have done the first ones for free...this is going to be less popular than the Apple Hi-Fi.

The fact that they are actually charging customers sometimes more than $5 for the version of the album that has this feature should be a clue. This thing is going nowhere, and when they kill it, they want to be able to just delete all the SKUs that have an LP attached and make them disappear from the store without affecting the "regular" version of the album.
 
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jaw04005

macrumors 601
Aug 19, 2003
4,371
17
AR
Here's the deal.

Apple contracted out the initial development of these LP things to one design firm, and they paid them anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 dollars per project. They are basically fancy Flash websites embedded with itunes cross links and some other custom things.

I quit reading at Flash. There’s no way in hell they’re made with Flash or any Adobe product for that matter. It’s has to be all HTML, CSS, QuickTime and Javascript.
 
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fifthworld

macrumors 6502
Oct 22, 2008
268
5
I really like Apple products, but even I am too quick to assume some random concrete statement (like $10000 forced fees) is true.

It didn't sound like much to me since I'd easily charge that myself as a freelancer. But the obvious question--is this REALLY true?--didn't cross my mind.

I'm glad the tools are being given to anyone. It's understandable to start with just a few labels, since the system is new.

Instead this news is certainly true? Apple contacted the UK tech site Electripig to clarify the position on the matter... and nobody else?

http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2009/10/13/apple-pledges-open-itunes-lp/
 
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naman34

macrumors member
Apr 7, 2009
33
0
has tablet written all over it.

I'm just stating the obvious but this is obviously targetted to hit the HIGHLY RUMORED apple tablet. It starts with liner notes, lyrics and artwork to go with music albums. Then it goes on and adds a comic book.
Then they open it up to everyone.
Then it adds reading material to go with music. Long essays, and short stories make their way into LP's, still with accompanying music.
People suddenly want to carry it around with them and the laptop isn't the best way to do that.
BAM!
Apple introduces the spanking new tablet, and a new apple TV.
Everyone who has interest in these LP's start thinking of the device.
BOOM!
apple starts selling all out e-books and other interactive magazines etc.
BANG!
apple releases the tablet, and the sales are sky high!

I think the tablet will do everything that iphone can
BUT
it will have multi-tasking
it will be able to store files (some sort of finder)
it will have handwriting support and will work with a stylus.
and have a proper office suite.
fingers crossed for an ilife kind of suite. At least iphoto cmon.
Obviously it'll be the only device that runs all these new ebooks and interactive content.

Also it will not be a phone! but MAY have a sum slot for a 3g connection.

About apps, I think apple will let developers make apps for it as soon as its launched, so most iphone apps will be ported pretty quickly.

Gaming on the bigger yet still portable screen is going to be a big selling point. Also that alone is proof that it will run on some sort of ARM chip.

Obviously it'll be more powerful with better RAM and graphics, so it'll have even better games and apps!! Also there'll be a little more freedom with what kind of apps will be allowed. Background apps finally;

Then they launch the all new iphone with a tweaked look. that also supports background processes for apps. multitasking finally. and then these new apps start getting ported back to the iphone.
All pretty obvious!!
 
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SG1-1

macrumors member
Apr 30, 2009
80
0
or C) Apple is quickly backpedaling, sorta like the whole Google Voice FCC mess.

Apple: We do not charge a production fee for iTunes LP
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - 12:00 PM EDT

"Brian McKinney, who runs Chicago’s Chocolate Lab Records, claimed at the weekend that iTunes charges a $10,000 production fee for iTunes LP, a new digital format that pairs additional content such as lyrics and videos with album downloads," MusicWeek reports.

"However, an iTunes spokesman says the fee is fiction," MusicWeek reports. "'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.'"


What part of this don't you understand, McKinney has been caught in a lie and made up the whole story for his own benefit, And in the coming day's more information will come out. McKinney is the one who is backpedalling and he now has been caught in another lie trying to cover his tracks.

LINK:
http://www.musicweek.com/story.asp?sectioncode=1&storycode=1038901&c=1

But your entitled to your own opinion........
 
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Rocketman

macrumors 603
The $10,000 may be a "placement fee" so albums discussed by Apple during the ramp of the feature pay for the extra exposure they get. I think the LP feature itself simply had a format specification each product would have to adhere to for liner notes, cover art (spindle art :) ) and other collateral.

Rocketman
 
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jaw04005

macrumors 601
Aug 19, 2003
4,371
17
AR
From the link above,

In a follow up email, Mckinney adds, “I should note that it is currently possible to design an iTunes LP independently. I've tested a couple designs on iTunes and they work great. The problem is that Apple won't let you sell them through their store. So, the $10,000 production fee isn't the barrier, it's the exclusion of indie labels and artists by Apple. We love iTunes, hate exclusion. Hopefully that will change. Hopefully we will speed up the process.”

Sure, Mckinney. It’s a little hard to be testing anything on iTunes when Apple, by their own admission, hasn’t even released the software (called TuneKit) to outside parties. Even if Mckinney’s label managed to reverse engineer iTunes LP (doubtful, why go through all this trouble?), why would Apple be expected to allow the sale of an unofficial product?

The labels will get the tools they need soon enough.
 
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SG1-1

macrumors member
Apr 30, 2009
80
0
In a follow up email, Mckinney adds, “I should note that it is currently possible to design an iTunes LP independently. I've tested a couple designs on iTunes and they work great. The problem is that Apple won't let you sell them through their store. So, the $10,000 production fee isn't the barrier, it's the exclusion of indie labels and artists by Apple. We love iTunes, hate exclusion. Hopefully that will change. Hopefully we will speed up the process.”

Sure, Mckinney. It’s a little hard to be testing anything on iTunes when Apple, by their own admission, hasn’t even released the software (called TuneKit) to outside parties.

Thanks for that added Quote, I had misplaced the link to that "Testing" argument the McKinney had said today, This was the Other lie i had mentioned. :)
 
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