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Will Cocktail Make You Buy Albums?

I’ve read countless articles that opine for the days of sitting on your bed staring at gigantic vinyl LP artwork while an album plays on a giant turntable in the background. It’s safe to say those days are dead, although there’s certainly a future for added-value album assets in the interactive realm.

For me — aside from the ultimate fan-boy, lust-after-anything-they-release bands (e.g., Radiohead, Dream Theater) — I tend to shy away from interactive extras and special release albums with bonus tracks. I just want the album, and I want to immediately rip it into digital form easily.

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t give a care about “extras” on the CD-Rom portion of an album. I actually get fairly annoyed when I pop a disc into my computer to rip it into mp3s and a video splash screen auto-runs and takes over the entire screen.

But with plateaued digital downloads and lagging physical album sales, the labels are still trying to innovate and find something we’ll shell out our precious pre-bailout tax dollars on.

According to Financial Times:

Apple is working with the four largest record labels to stimulate digital sales of albums by bundling a new interactive booklet, sleeve notes and other interactive features with music downloads, in a move it hopes will change buying trends on its online iTunes store.

The talks come as Apple is separately racing to offer a portable, full-featured, tablet-sized computer in time for the Christmas shopping season, in what the entertainment industry hopes will be a new revolution. The device could be launched alongside the new content deals, including those aimed at stimulating sales of CD-length music, according to people briefed on the project.

The agreement is code named “Cocktail” and includes partnership with EMI, Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music Group to bring interactive liner notes and video clips to the music.

A September launch date is coming fast. I’m hoping it will look something like this.

It probably won’t, and I’ll still avoid buying “deluxe” albums. But can you imagine a Nine Inch Nails or Phish show in 3D? Now *that* would be worth a few extra bucks.

I’d probably sit on my bed and just stare at it. You see, things really do come full circle.

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