“Don’t it always seem to go you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” ... Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) didn’t pave paradise but it helped kill off albums and now it wants the magic—and the higher profit margins—back. The FT reports via multiple unidentified sources that Apple, EMI, Warner Music Group (NYSE: WMG), Universal Music, and Sony (NYSE: SNE) Music are working on a project codenamed “Cocktail” centered on bundling liner notes and video clips with music.
Apple has been trying variations on the theme for a while, including album cards purchased at retail outlets with download codes and its iTunes originals. This would be “a new type of interactive album material, including photos, lyric sheets and liner notes that allow users to click through to items that they find most interesting.” In an intriguing twist, the format would allow listeners to bypass iTunes by letting them play music directly from the “album.” With variable pricing now in place, the labels could find a way if not to boost sales, at least to make more. (The “deluxe” edition of Green Day’s 21st Century Breakdown with two extra tracks is $14.99; the standard is $11.99. Both include a digital booklet.)
—Apple netbook: It’s also tied in with the expected Apple netbook/tablet, a touch-sensitive device envisioned by some as an iTouch on steroids. The larger screen and portable format , which likely would be a big step up for movies and possibly a competitor to the Kindle DX, would make it more inviting for albums, or so the thinking goes, according to FT.
By Staci D. Kramer