Don't want to pay $10,000 to have an iTunes LP version of your album? Make your own

GoldRecordUpdate: Apparently, the original guy was in error. Somehow he was informed that there’s a $10k fee while Apple is saying there is not. They say: “There is no production fee charged by Apple. We’re releasing the open specs for iTunes LP soon, allowing both major and indie labels to create their own.” I just don’t know what to believe any more.

The whole world was bullish on iTunes LPs when they were announced; I called it a black eye for the majors, whose CMX format has yet to be popularized. But the hype was curbed when it was discovered that there was a $10,000 fee associated with the service, putting it completely out of reach for less affluent artists and small labels who can’t afford that price for promotion.

Luckily for them, Apple was nice enough to make the format rather basic. It turns out anyone versed in a little HTML and Javascript can put together an LP that’s just as good as a “real” one. It’s not as simple as drag-and-drop, and without Apple’s proprietary TuneKit library, some functionality is difficult or impossible to replicate at this point. But is trying to collect all the information you need into a few tutorials and demo files.


The site seems kind of hammered now, but I can see from what I’ve read there that really, a day’s work or less is all it would take to put together a serious ITLP. They’ve already released one: Disney’s 1957 Fantasia record, complete with high-quality art and program. Of course, you’ll need to get the album yourself, but if a record was ever deserving of the ITLP treatment, Fantasia is.

At this rate, it won’t be long before music promoters and designers will put “iTunes LP production” on their list of capabilities. The legality of this will be debated, but the demand is such that, like jailbreaking your iPhone, it’ll catch on with Apple’s blessing or not.

The question is, will Apple take positive measures to lock out third party ITLP files? That would be a spiteful move and a fiercely unpopular one, but the RIAA and other media giants have a history of spiteful and unwise actions (in fact, they make them almost exclusively) and Apple might follow in their shoes. The $10,000 fee is proof of that.

One may hope, though without too much expectation, that Apple will open it up and give out an affordable toolset for putting ITLPs together. Perhaps this fee business is just to stick it to the early adopters in big media, and then they’ll rain down love and compassion and SDKs on the faithful. But I doubt it.

[via Hack a Day]