Apple working on digital albums, tablet PC: sources

Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:27pm EDT
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By Yinka Adegoke

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The major music labels are planning a new digital album format that will debut with a tablet-like personal computer from Apple Inc in September, people familiar with the plans said on Monday.

The labels are attempting to revive the multi-track album format with new software that packages songs, traditional album liner notes, music videos, and other interactive extras as part of a premium-priced package.

The music industry first proposed the idea of an enhanced album format to Apple in 2007, according to two people who said the labels have been separately working on a project code-named "CMX".

The labels, including EMI Group, Sony Corp's Sony Music Entertainment, Vivendi's Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group had planned to roll out the new album format to all digital retailers this November.

But Apple decided to design its own version of an interactive album, which is expected to be launched with its new unnamed tablet-like device this fall, the sources said.

The Apple album project has been code-named 'Cocktail' and the format is expected to work with other Apple devices like the iPhone and iPod.

Industry sources said Chief Executive Steve Jobs would likely unveil the new device at an Apple event in September.

Apple declined to comment, saying the company does not respond to rumors and speculation. News of Apple and the label's plan was first reported by the Financial Times.   Continued...

<p>Customers line up to purchase the new Apple iPhone 3GS at the 5th Avenue Apple store in New York June 19, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>