Apple, Record Labels Team Up to Boost Album Sales

Very soon, your next album purchase on iTunes might contain more than just a handful or two of tracks. Although the project reportedly deemed "Cocktail" is characteristically still under wraps, Apple is said to be planning a virtual, interactive CD experience with every full-album download.

The plan entails bundling together digital extras with the downloads to emulate that unique, timeless experience of browsing through all those neat extras that often come with physical CDs: liner notes, booklets, lyric sheets, photos, etc. Video clips are rumored to be an accompaniment as well.

Will all those goodies persuade consumers to stop downloading single tracks and go for the full album? Apple hopes so, and so does Universal Music Group, Sony Music, Warner Music and EMI, who have all teamed up to provide this service by September, according to the Financial Times. Anonymous Apple executives said that downloaders could play songs straight from the interactive books, which are "not just a bunch of PDFs," and users can click through whatever additions they find interesting.

Conveniently, rumors about a tablet-style, touchscreen computer coming from Apple before the Christmas season have been swirling, and many wonder if this tablet's release may coincide with the new iTunes virtual CD booklets. Watch your back, CrunchPad.

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