Launched with iTunes 9, iTunes LP would let record labels include extra content, such as liner notes, expanded artwork and lyrics, in albums sold on iTunes. The feature never took off, but the concept of adding value to an album using interactive digital content has not died. Record labels such as Universal Music Group and EMI are now looking to the iPad as a way to entice customers to purchase a full album with value-added content instead of individual tracks.
EMI recently released an iPad version of Until One, a dance album from Swedish House Mafia. Besides audio tracks, the iPad album includes video footage, a photo gallery and commentary from the band. The content is distributed as an iPad app and costs US$9.99. Universal has also jumped on the interactive album bandwagon and has teamed with a video production company, Eagle Rock Entertainment. The duo are working on an interactive iPad versions of classic albums such as Nirvana's Nevermind. This latter project is currently under development.
Only time will tell if this latest focus on enhanced album content will succeed. In the past, consumers eschewed bonus content, but the 9.7-inch display of the iPad provides a richer multimedia experience than the iPhone. Given the choice, would you pay more for an enhanced iPad album or would you stick with the less expensive, music-only option?