Apple and record labels to release competing enhanced album formats
Remember when we said the four largest record companies were working together with Apple to add enhanced liner notes and extra media to full album purchases through the iTunes Store? Well, apparently Apple wasn't in on that cooperation. The Guardian is reporting that the four companies' plans for enhanced full albums were rebuffed by Apple, and they are planning to release their own format in competition with the one to be released in the iTunes Store.
The new file format, called CMX, was created by EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner. It will function quite a bit like a DVD, with a launch page allowing for navigation to the related artwork and video portions of the album. An unnamed label representative is quoted saying that the format was initially presented to an uninterested Apple; now, Apple is releasing a competing format under the code name Cocktail.
The format's tentative launch date is set for November, will be for a small number of titles, and only available in smaller music stores and non-Apple players. It is unclear how Cocktail and CMX will be different, if at all, save for the exclusivity of platforms. Apple is largely said to be following up on the format as a precautionary measure, in case it proves to be immensely popular; as they've said repeatedly, their interest still lies with supporting the more lucrative hardware, rather than trying to profit from full album sales. Still, Apple is stepping up to the format battle, and while not on the scale of Betamax vs. VHS or HD-DVD vs. Blu-ray, this promises to be a pretty decent fight.
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