Major labels plan new album format without Apple

The four largest music labels—Universal, Sony, Warner, and EMI—are reportedly planning a new digital album format called CMX. The Times reports that the new format will offers customers a digital version of the sleeve notes that accompany a physical album, including lyrics and artwork, as well as videos. According to the report, the labels approached Apple about the new bundle format around 18 months ago, but were turned down; Apple is reportedly working on a format of its own, code-named “Cocktail,” which is expected to launch in the next two months.

One senior record label insider told the Times, “Apple at first told us that they were not interested, but now they have decided to do their own, in case ours catches on. Ours will be a file that you click on, it opens and it would have a totally brand-new look, with a launch page and all the different options. When you click on it you’re not just going to get the ten tracks, you’re going to get the artwork, the video and mobile products.” CMX-formatted albums are expected to be rolled out slowly, with only a few releases available at first. “We are not going out in force,” the label source said. “What you are going to see is a couple of releases thrown out there to see what people like. We are working with the retailers now.”

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