When the iTunes store was launched, Apple said that the real money was going to be made through sales of iPods. That strategy worked out pretty well, but now that market dominance has been achieved the company is looking for new revenue streams in digital music. To that end, Apple is joining Sony, EMI, Warner Music and Universal Music Group in an effort to sell more full albums.
Their first point of attack is to improve the peripherals buyers receive with full albums. The current collection of PDFs that constitute "liner notes" are often hard to read and really don't add much to the buying experience, so discussions are pointing to improved add-ons. Financial Times is reporting that albums will come with "interactive booklets, sleeve notes, and music downloads," and other sources have speculated that all of this material will be viewable on an as yet unannounced new tablet iPod.
Though this strategy would seem healthy for Apple to sell more iPods and the record companies to move whole albums, the real solution seems to be two-fold and much simpler: give a bigger price break for whole album sales and then produce some albums that go more than three songs deep. [Engadget]