At Apple's annual special music event, this year dubbed "It's only rock and roll, but we like it" they announced a new, old-style album-centric offering called iTunes LP. The image painted was of a young Steve Jobs, grabbing his bike, riding to the music store, buying the latest Dylan on vinyl, racing home, putting it on his turn table, and then lying back and listening, while pouring over the album art, liner material, lyrics, and other extras.

Fast forward to the era of CDs, and ultimately iTunes and digital downloads, and extras became less common, as did buying entire albums. For lazy artists who made one or two good songs and loaded the rest with filler, well deserved. For true artists who wrote albums like epics, like symphonies in multiple parts, well... the listener was the one missing out.

Admittedly, when we first heard about iTunes LP, code-named Cocktail, we worried that Big Music was trying to force Apple to force us to buy those lazy, filler-filled albums, and maybe even sneak DRM (Digital Rights Management) back into our freshly-liberated iTunes.

Turns out that young Steve Jobs and his Dylan album was closer to what we get with iTunes LP than a Big Music lock down scheme. And thank goodness for that.

Web developer Jay Robinson (via Daring Fireball) has taken a closer look at iTunes LP, and provided lots of great details for those interested in the format. Like what?

  • The iTunes LP files are ITLP format and rather large (~500MB)
  • They're in 720p, (which is confusing for smaller display sizes like on some laptops, but might make sense on Apple TV, or dare we say, an iTablet?)
  • iTunes LP visualizer
  • Internal structure uses WebKit (the foundation of Safari) for rendering, HTML 4.01, CSS, and Javascript.
  • And best of all -- DRM-free! (YES!)

Check out Robinson's full write up for a lot more on the new iTunes LP format, and if you try it out, tell us what you get and how you like it!