UPDATE: Apple has got in touch with the following statement: “We’re releasing the open specs for iTunes LP soon, allowing both major and indie labels to create their own. There is no production fee charged by Apple.”
iTunes LP, billed by Apple as the return of the old-school album, is pricing out indie labels according to one record boss. So what makes the all new format so prohibitive? And can it truly pique people’s interest in the same way lovingly crafted vinyl used to?
The Apple obsessives at TUAW have done some digging and thrown up some interesting stats about iTunes LP. Word is Apple charges a $10,000 production fee for iTunes LP. That’s according to the boss of US indie label Chocolate Lab, Brian McKinney. He says Apple is only offering major labels access to the spanking new service.
There is also the suggestion that relations with the major record labels need to be cultivated and that iTunes LP is the next step to keep them on side after introducing variable pricing and DRM.
The fact is, $10,000 is a piffling amount in the cut throat world of music. Surely if Apple wants to make iTunes LP a truly exclusive offering, it’s prices would be higher. In which case, is Apple simply being selective in order to play nice with Universal, Sony, EMI and Warner?