A funny thing started happening when people started downloading music from the internet (whether they paid for tracks or not). We started prioritizing songs over albums. It used to be that you’d hear a song you liked on the radio and you’d go out to buy the CD, tape, record, or 8-track recording that contained that track. Now you can purchase albums a la carte, and some artists put out songs one track at a time… but according to a Financial Times article, Apple has a plan to revive the album in the age of digital music. And it may involve the long-rumored Apple tablet.
According to the Financial Times, Apple is working with the four major record labels to offer digital versions of liner notes, artwork, and the other goodies that you get when you purchase music in a physical media format. If the Financial Times is putting its facts and rumors together right, Apple could launch the tablet this fall and use it as a platform for distributing digital albums and interactive media.
For instance, you could purchase an album with 10 to 15 tracks, listen to the songs on the tablet, and “flip” through pages of an accompanying book to read lyrics or other information or look at artwork using the touchscreen device. The albums will also reportedly includ video clips.
I’m not at all convinced that the reason people aren’t buying albums like they once did is because you don’t get liner notes and special content. It’s more likely because many people don’t see the point in paying for 12 songs when you only want two or three. But for music fans who were likely going to pay full price for the latest full albums from their favorite artists anyway, this could be a good deal.
I just hope this isn’t the only trick the Apple tablet will have up its sleeve. Because while a Kindle-for-music would be kind of neat, a device with a good web browser, on-screen or peripheral keyboard, and ability to run third party applications would be a lot more exciting.