iTunes 'Cocktail' Pledges to Revive Album Sales

Dennis Faas's picture

Apple is trying to make it more attractive for iTunes shoppers to buy full albums rather than just single tracks. The plan involves giving customers additional electronic material to simulate the experience of owning a physical product, like a CD.

Codenamed 'Cocktail,' Apple's scheme reportedly has the support of all four major record labels. It would mean album buyers not only received electronic copies of album covers, liner notes, lyrics lists and other printed material, but that there'd be some degree of interactivity -- for example, by having the track listing act as a menu. (Source:

The packages would also include video content such as promotional videos for songs, similar to those available as bonus DVDs with physical albums. The scheme is due to launch in September, but there's no word yet on whether the enhanced albums will cost extra.

Single Track Solution

Those involved in Apple Cocktail hope the plan will reverse a trend where many customers simply buy single tracks, cherry-picking particular songs rather than paying for the entire album. The plan could also be a way of accommodating bands who refuse to have their albums sold on a track-by-track basis for "artistic" reasons.

The problem: much of the proposed 'free' material is already available through less official sources, albeit without the interactivity.

Nostalgia In The Air

An executive involved in the plan is quoted by the Financial Times as saying it's "all about re-creating the heyday of the album when you would sit around with your friends looking at the artwork, while you listened to the music."

That may be good for nostalgia, particularly for older company executives, but it doesn't necessarily translate into today's music-buyer market. (Source:

To work, the scheme would also have to overcome the belief of many customers that many of today's albums only have a few songs worth paying for and that the rest is simply filler.

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