iTunes 9 full review - Page 7

iTunes LPs and iTunes Extras

Finally, there are two new types of content you can purchase from the iTunes Store: iTunes LPs and iTunes Extras. iTunes LPs are the music industry’s latest attempt to get people to purchase albums instead of individual tracks. Each iTunes LP includes the album’s full track list, along with full-screen extras—designed with input from the actual artists—such as music videos, video interviews, liner notes, discographies, and lyrics. They’re a fun option for hardcore fans, even though in many ways they remind me of the music-focused CD-ROMs of the ’90s (though with better quality multimedia).

Unfortunately, there aren’t many iTunes LPs available right now—just 11 albums (five of those pre-orders) and one “comic book and single”—and you pay a premium for them: The iTunes LP version of Dave Matthews Band’s latest, Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, is $20, and The Grateful Dead’s American Beauty is $14 (compared to $10 for the standard version). And the tracks themselves are the same 256kbps AAC files you get with the standard versions; for many music lovers, it would be easier to justify the premium if iTunes LP also included higher-quality files.

iTunes Extras for Wall-E.

iTunes Extras are similar to the special features—deleted scenes, interviews, and the like—you get with many DVDs, and are now included with select (currently 14) movies from the iTunes Store. The absence of these features has kept many movie buffs from purchasing movies from the iTunes Store.

I purchased Wall-E and enjoyed these extras, which play in the iTunes window and include “live” tours of set pieces and places, storybooks, making-of clips, videos inspired by the movie, robot schematics, set fly-throughs, deleted scenes, and a useful chapter menu. Unlike iTunes LPs, there’s no big price premium here: movies with iTunes Extras appear to be the same price as the movie alone sold for previously.

For example, Wall-E is $15, and The Bourne Ultimatum is $10. Note that these Extras won’t play on your iPod, iPhone, or Apple TV.

There doesn't appear to be a way to upgrade to the iTunes LP version of an album or the iTunes Extras version of a movie if you've purchased the standard versions of those albums or movies in the past.

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