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Distributing iTunes LPs without iTunes

Within days of the iTunes 9 and iTunes LP announcement, people had already thoroughly hacked apart the iTunes LP format only to discover it was just a clever combination of images, HTML, CSS and Javascript. Because any web developer could create an iTunes LP, it seemed strange that indie labels were left out in the cold, with LPs having a high cost of entry and no distribution of their LPs on the iTunes Store.

We do have a report this morning of Apple announcing that they'll be opening up the LP format, but a few inventive artists appear to have leapfrogged that step towards glasnost. It was only a matter of time before someone starting offering iTunes LPs in other ways, and iTunesLP.net is that someone. They're already offering up Disney's Fantasia in the iTunes LP format, but no music is included.

Installing the LP is as easy and double-clicking the downloaded file, but for the music to play properly it must be correctly tagged and named, and of course you need a legitimate way to get the music in question. Even though the site only offers 1 LP currently, it has plenty of tutorials and directions on how to create and distribute your own.

As long as no copyright laws are being broken, I think creating and distributing these LPs is a great idea. It offers users the chance to create visually stunning LPs for older music that the labels wouldn't bother with, and it offers indie labels the chance to get iTunes LPs out there, even if they're not yet available directly in the iTunes Store. With Apple's new policy towards opening up the LP format, this may be a brief opportunity for the workaround, but it's nice to see.

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