The Album Reinvented Digitally?

While hanging out at my house with some friends this weekend, some music questions came up and at several points I pulled out vinyl to for the answer (and to just look at the artwork). It was a very nice visual and tactile experience. This is something that I don't think can be recreated digitally, but I do think a similar concept can still be viable and succeed. I think the concept of the album is important to the art of music (any joe schmo can release a single), so anything being done to preserve it in my eyes is warranted.


Apple working with record labels to resurrect the album
The rise in digital music has seen a corresponding drop in album sales. Now, Apple, which has played a huge role in digital music sales, is reportedly working with the record labels to prop up the album.

By Chris Foresman | Last updated July 27, 2009 1:12 PM CT

Industry insiders say that the big four record labels are working with Apple to boost full album sales, as individual songs have come to dominate digital downloads. A project called "Cocktail" is reportedly underway and set to launch this fall, which will bundle interactive "booklets" including artwork, liner notes, and other content with a full album purchase. Another interesting twist is that the new content may be launched alongside a long-rumored Apple tablet.

Apple has worked with labels and bands in the past to promote digital music. Many albums are now available with digital booklets, a PDF file that includes cover art and liner notes. A few artists have released a "digital box set," most notably U2, which released a package that contained every song that band ever recorded—it could also be purchased alongside a special edition U2 iPod. Most recently, Apple unveiled what's called an iTunes Pass with the release of Depeche Mode's latest album Sounds of the Universe. iTunes Pass gives purchasers access to exclusive remixes, b-sides, videos, and other content leading up to the release of a new album.

The "Cocktail" project would see a further evolution of such ideas. "It's all about recreating the heyday of the album when you would sit around with your friends looking at the artwork, while you listened to the music," one executive familiar with the plans told Financial Times. The problem is that most of today's digital music audience has little or no recollection of the album's heyday.

"It's not just a bunch of PDFs," said one executive. "There's real engagement with the ancillary stuff." One reported feature is that songs can be played directly from these interactive booklets without going into iTunes to play the tracks—though it's not clear if iTunes must be running for the magic to work.

[From Apple working with record labels to resurrect the album - Ars Technica]

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