Apple is to stop selling iTunes albums with added material such as liner notes and bonus tracks. It won’t add any new ‘LP’ submissions to the catalog after this month.
The name was a nod to the experience of buying physical albums in the vinyl days when artwork and sleeve notes, including lyric sheets, was part of the music shopping experience. Apple originally introduced the program to try to win over music afficianados who were wary of the idea of simply buying the music itself in an intangible format.
In an email to music producers, Apple says it will stop accepting iTunes LPs after this month. It will then remove the existing LP format albums from the catalog at some point this year. However, customers who’ve already bought such albums will still be able to redownload them (including the bonus material and multimedia files) through iTunes Match even after they’ve been removed from sale.
Some more excitable analysts believe this might be a step towards Apple ditching music sales altogether and instead switching solely to a streaming subscription service. However there’s no real indication that’s happening any time soon.