iTunes LP Format Too Rich for Indie Labels' Blood?

iTunes LP Format Too Rich for Indie Labels' Blood?
Like it or not, that iTunes LP format we've been hearing about so much lately was looking to be a bit of a bust, or at least for fans of independent music. According to a Gizmodo report, Apple's new digital album format was going to cost a label hefty $10,000 to convert any release into the digital album format. However, Apple has now said that a free version would soon be available for both indie and major labels.

As previously reported, Apple's new digital album format offers exclusive packaging, liner notes and bonus features that go along with a download of a full album, but so far has only been made available on a small number of major label releases.

In Gizmodo's story, Chocolate Lab Records (Andy Rorke, Clock Hands Strangle) owner Brian McKinney looked into making some of his titles into iTunes LPs, but he was quickly turned off the idea when he found out about the $10,000 production fee.

"I contacted the digital distribution manager at my label's distributor," McKinney told Gizmodo. "He had a conference call with an iTunes rep and asked how we go about putting an LP together. He was told that LPs aren't being offered to indies and that there are only about 12 LPs being offered right now. They also said that iTunes charges a $10,000 production fee for them as well. So that pretty much edges out the indie market completely,"

Following that, Apple released a statement, which said that production fee will now be waved and contradicts McKinney's comments. "We're releasing the open specs for iTunes LP soon, allowing both major and indie labels to create their own," it reads. "There is no production fee charged by Apple."

So far iTunes has only offered LP versions of large-name flagship acts like U2, or classic bands like the Doors, although AFI and Paramore are two of the more punk-like bands to get the digital album treatment.