In Depth: iTunes’ new album format

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Ever wanted to know what is actually inside an iTunes LP or have no idea what this new album format developed by Apple is? Well, as Muse’s The Resistance hits Australian stores this week and was just recently made available to Australian customers on iTunes, we decided to bring an in depth guide on how iTunes LP actually works, and how does this change the experience of digital downloads via iTunes.

But what is it? iTunes LP basically allows a user to get more than just an album cover and the song tracks; but gives a graphical interface to access lyrics, linear notes, photos, videos, credits and other extras. Apple hopes to make you stay there and have a look inside what it has to offer, and I spent 30 minutes looking through, intrigued at the videos on making The United States of Eurasia and Uprising and looking through the graphics in the lyrics. Granted, I was born after LPs became CDs.

To gain these new features, you will need to be able to access the newly redesigned store, meaning that you will need to get iTunes 9. Good thing is that you can play it on both Windows and Mac computers. However, you will not be able to play this on your iPod or iPhone, but the songs (as they also come as individual files) can be transferred to your device. While the iTunes LP file will be rights-managed, as in protected with DRM, the song files will still be DRM free.

Inside The Resistance’s iTunes LP, there are three videos – including the aforementioned two and a live performance of Supermassive Black Hole – and ten photos of the band. For the song lyrics, the graphics match the theme of the album’s design, and are written as one continuous block of text with a new ‘line’ of a lyric being separated by a dot (two for the chorus).

For some, it could be just a waste of your download limit (the iTunes LP for this album was over 250MB), but for fans of a particular singer or band, it just makes the experience more better with additional content beyond the album cover and songs.