Duke’s Note: If you haven’t heard yet, Chocolate Lab Records head honcho Brian McKinney dropped the news last week that the iTunes LP format was only available to major label artists, and with a $10,000.00 production fee.

Now apparently Apple says that’s pure fiction.

From McKinney: “I’ve tested a couple designs on iTunes and they work great. The problem is that Apple won’t let you sell them through their store. So, the $10,000 production fee isn’t the barrier, it’s the exclusion of indie labels and artists by Apple. We love iTunes, hate exclusion. Hopefully that will change. Hopefully we will speed up the process.”

…and from Music Week: “However, an iTunes spokesman says the fee is fiction. ‘There is no production fee charged by Apple,’ he says. ‘We’re releasing the open specs for iTunes LP soon, allowing both major and indie labels to create their own.’

“To date, only a handful of albums are available as iTunes LPs, the vast majority of then catalogue titles.”

Frankly I see no reason to believe either one is necessarily lying. I believe McKinney’s story, and I believe that Apple does not have the $10-grand fee. How? It’s entirely possible that the fee was real, and then Apple saw all that negative feedback and didn’t want to be the bad guy.

Whatever the case, I’m happy as a mired pig that the ten large is out of the picture, and the format is apparently available to indie artists.

Even if the format did cost ten grand, there’s plenty of programmers in the sea. Hypebot has a great story about iLongPlay (a company based in Uruguay) with an open source alternative to the iTunes LP format:

Maybe that’s got something to do with the amazing disappearance of the production fee.

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