Opinion: iTunes LP – succeed or fail? And how it can succeed

Two conflicting iTunes reports this morning take a look at the fortunes – or, arguable, lack of them, of Apple’s iTunes Plus format (soon to be upgraded, at least according to one industry exec).

Report one is the usual fire and brimstone and doom and gloom affair, in which Salon takes a look at the first six months of the format’s existence, and observing it has thus far failed to fully grab consumer or industry support.

“Like an enhanced CD or a DVD packaged with a physical album, iTunes LP’s bonus materials may interest super-fans, but they aren’t generating much buzz among mainstream consumers, and don’t appear to be stimulating LP sales at all. “It’s something most people will look at once,” is how one person put it.”

There’s only 29 iTunes LP releases for sale in the US via iTunes, almost half of which were among the first dozen to be introduced, and which were developed in collaboration with Apple.

An interview with Rhino Entertainment’s David Dorn shows a slightly different humour to the iTunes LP flatline.

“The initial launch was very successful. We sold thousands and were very happy,” he tells Paid Content. The problem is the way iTunes works – the extended LPs don’t always make it to the store before the standard versions.

“Rhino has talked about the situation with Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and it sounds like a fix is in the works. Dorn added, “I think that the LP is a really important next step in digital product packaging.””

In other words, like every rev.1 Apple product, don’t throw the iToys out the iPram and take the iGround straight away. Though if anyone were to ask me I’d say that the price don’t fit the market, extra features or not. If you want to spend that kind of money on a slice of music and want an interesting new format why not buy a CD? You get to hold it, smell it, and rip it. (And it’ll sound better through your stereo.)

To make iTunes LP succeed, all Apple and the labels really need to do is offer the music at higher-than-CD-quality bit-rates, with the right to burn the audio to CD, so DJs could use the format in their live sets on those big, loud, but sometimes acoustically unforgiving PA systems.

One day maybe the digital world will fulfill the promise and offer music in better, rather than lower quality format.

3 thoughts on “Opinion: iTunes LP – succeed or fail? And how it can succeed

  1. Matt Piltz

    I couldn’t have been more excited for iTunesLP when it was announced however the cost and lack of albums make it pretty irrelevant.

    If they would make it standard for all major new releases and have it cost the same as a regular downloaded album, I would never buy a physical CD again and it would be another incentive to buy the entire album rather than single tracks.

    Besides that, how cool would it be to look at an iTunesLP on your iPad while using Apple Remote (or iTunes on the iPad itself) to send music to your stereo via Airport Express!? That would be an incredible immersive music experience and I’m surprised Apple hasn’t realized that yet.

    It would almost be like having an old 12″ LP come to life!

  2. Shaina Bushnell

    Thanks for posting this, It’s just what I was looking for on google. I’d much rather hear opinions from an individual, rather than a corporate site, that’s why I like blogs so much. Thanks!

  3. Paul

    First of all the album ROCKS!!! Thanks for the unknown hours you put into it!Also, toghuht you might appreciate this. We’ve been listening to the CD all day yesterday and today. Tonight as I was putting my nearly 5-yr old daughter to bed, she asked if she could listen to it as she went to sleep rather than her VeggieTales worship cd (how do you rate?!), and I pointed her to where the case was. She ran over to pick it up, turned to go to her room, then paused, looking at the cover. The following conversation took place on the way to her bedroom:Breanna: Who is this?Mom: That’s Travis Cottrell, baby, he’s the man singing on the CDBreanna: oh! He’s handsome!Mom: ha, yes he is, I’m sure he’d be glad to know you think that! (Putting cd in, Brea still looking at the case)Breanna: (quietly as she walks over to her bed) yep, he’s a good-looking man.Lol! I toghuht it was precious! Not only did you beat out Bob and Larry tonight, but you’ve also got the youngin’s swooning! =)

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