Apple Joins Forces with Record Labels, Building ‘Tablet’

It’s obvious that physical album sales would decline ever since the rise of iTunes and other online music stores, and who wants to buy an entire album of filler songs online when you can purchase the three or four songs from the album that you want? Apple and its associated record companies have noticed the large decline in online sales of entire albums, which have higher profit than individual tracks, so they’re working on a new perk to spark people’s interest in buying albums again. What’s more is that these doubtful rumors that have been going around about Apple’s tablet actually seem to have some truth to them.Apple and four of the largest record companies, EMI, Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music Group, are working together on a project they call “Cocktail” that will add an entire slew of new content that will be available only with albums. It’ll be more intriguing than the current offering according to one ‘executive:’ “It’s not just a bunch of PDFs. There’s real engagement with the ancillary stuff.”

What Apple will be offering with albums downloaded from iTunes in the hopes to rev sales will be interactive. Interactive booklets, sleeve notes, video clips, and other media were mentioned to be bundled. Apparently those who buy albums will be able to play songs directly from this ‘interactive book’ without having to go back to the iTunes player. According to another ‘executive:’ “It’s all about recreating the heyday of the album when you would sit around with your friends looking at the artwork while you listened to the music.”

I never did that myself, but perhaps that was more common back with LPs, which were long before my time.

Rumors have been flying about Apple’s upcoming tablet for the past several weeks, and none have been published at OSNews for obvious reasons. However, the Financial Times seems to have some actual evidence (these few unnamed executives). According to the article, the tablet will have a touch screen of up to ten inches and have Internet connectivity though most likely not via a data plan like the iPhone. They said that Apple’s hoping to have this new device out in time for the Christmas shopping season and that it will be an industry-changing device just as the iPod and the iPhone have been.

The “Cocktail” project, which is planned for a September launch, is hoped to compliment the tablet and vice-versa, bringing in more revenue for everybody involved.

There have also been talks with Apple from book publishers to add services to the new tablet. “Kindle Killer” has a nice alliterative ring to it, don’t you think? We’d have to fit that “i” in there somewhere, but “iKiller” will discourage many 13 year-old’s parents from allowing such a device in the house.

Whatever happens, I don’t think the offering of cheap media along with album downloads is going to tempt many people so they can “sit around with their friends looking at the media while listening to the music.” Single-track downloads are generally bought for the sole reason of not having to buy the rest of the album that you don’t want. As for the tablet, the Financial Times has me convinced. If the battery can last a long time, I believe it may be a hit.


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