Introduced by none other than Steve Jobs at the Apple Music Event last month, the iTunes LP adds content like lyrics, liner notes, animation, and video interviews to the traditional album for a little more money, at least for the consumer. It turns out Apple is charging artists $10,000 in production costs for creating an iTunes LP.
That’s what Brian McKinney of indie label Chocolate Lab Records told Gizmodo. McKinney sought information on how one went about making an iTunes LP, and it was relayed to him from an iTunes Store representative that “LPs aren’t being offered to indies and that there are only about 12 LPs being offered right now.” And that Apple is charging $10,000 in production fees.
If that sounds a tad high for your average indie band practically living out of the back of a van, perhaps that’s why there are so few iTunes LPs available a month after format was introduced. To contrast that with another Apple initiative, the App Store, it opened with 500 apps, and less than a week later had nearly a thousand.
If you are looking for a rationale as to why it’s impossible to put together some songs, videos, and lyrics for less than $10,000, don’t look at me. AppleInsider has some steroidal-strength apologia on the topic, though, something about “quality assurance” and that Apple doesn’t “want the new format associated with music the mainstream market doesn’t care about.” It will be great later, though, “open standards” and all that. Let’s hope so, because right now it looks like Apple is channeling the ghost of Sony’s proprietary standards past.
When Steve Jobs introduced the iTunes LP, he remarked that “some of us here are old enough that we actually bought LPs.” Some of us also remember sifting through boxes of LPs in record stores for hours and the joy of finding new music unlike anything we’d heard before. Unless Apple changes its policy, you’ll never have to worry about losing yourself among the virtual LPs at the iTunes Store.