March 24, 2018

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Apple scraps iTunes LP format

10 March 2018

According to reports, Apple told its iTunes partners last month that new iTunes LP submissions will no longer be accepted starting April 1.

United Kingdom publication Metro first broke the news, claiming to have leaked an internal email from Apple titled "The End of iTunes LP", which was apparently sent to music producers. " "Customers who have since purchased any albums that may have contained an LP have nothing to worry about as those will continue to be accessible and available to download through the iTunes Match software".

Apple just confirmed that it will stop accepting iTunes LP submissions as of March, ending the feature's somewhat brief life.

LPs allow users to view multimedia elements as they play music. Labels could take advantage of the format by included things like liner notes, graphics, photos and links to video for albums encoded that way.

Instead, what this means is that iTunes LP content doesn't sell well, studios aren't making any significant money off of them, and Apple is done paying for the infrastructure to support them. iTunes LP is going away, not iTunes music sales. It's hard to imagine iTunes LPs being the reason why people buy albums in full, so that's probably not the case.

iTunes LP downloads use a proprietary file format with the extension .itlp, which is essentially a WebArchive adhering to special conventions using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, CSS Animations, and plists. Its closest competitor, Apple Music, is far behind at 36 million subscribers.

The leaked email was reportedly sent almost two weeks ago, signed by "The Apple Music Team" from an "The iTunes Store" address. The special iTunes format has been around for nearly ten years but only around 400 albums have used it.

Some sites, including the original report from Metro, have surmised that the letter telegraphs Apple's move away from music purchases entirely, but that may be a bit of a leap.

Apple scraps iTunes LP format