Why Record Labels Don’t Provide More Digital Booklets on the iTunes Store

A few months ago, I pondered why there are so few albums with digital booklets on the iTunes Store. I had discovered at the time that Apple imposes their own page format, which is not that of CD booklets, adding an extra step in the production process for record labels.

Well I found out something else recently: why record labels don’t add digital booklets to older releases. The answer is interesting; it’s because they can’t. Apple won’t let them. If a label has uploaded an album to the iTunes Store and wants to add a digital booklet later, the only way they can do this is to delete the original, and create a new album listing with a new SKU. And if they do this, then purchasers will no longer be able to re-download music listed under the old SKU.

It’s kind of foolish; it should be drop-dead simple to add something to an album on the iTunes Store, but Apple’s system is so rigid that it’s impossible. So if you wonder why your favorite label hasn’t added digital booklets to older releases, you now know why.

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6 replies
  1. Robert Van Drunen says:

    The lack of a digital booklet with many music downloads is my biggest peeve with all the major music services. Unless it’s dirt cheap I won’t buy music unless it has a digital booklet. What I don’t understand is why Amazon and Google are no better than iTunes.

    Then there is iTunes LP that won’t work on Apple TV 2 or 3.

    Reply
  2. Peter Reavy says:

    I was pleased to see there was a digital booklet with the iTunes version of Teldec’s Ligeti Project. Anyway the PDF looks like it’s been scanned from a paper copy complete with a couple of handwritten scribbles on it. I’m only remarking on this rather than complaining. It’s a great bargain set and it’s great that they scanned the booklet in.

    Reply
  3. Bakari says:

    Yeah, I find this disconcerting as well. As an avid jazz lover, I would love to receive a well written and graphically designed layout with my downloads. Such a resource would encourage me to purchase a few more albums.

    Reply
  4. Luis says:

    If enough people file this as an iTunes bug-report, will Apple respond appropriately?

    It’s worth trying.

    Reply
  5. Joao T Costa says:

    Does Apple allow labels to offer deluxe editions on iTunes? Add a booklet and a couple of unreleased tracks, charge a premium price. If you’re Motown repeat the cycle indefinitely.

    Reply
    • kirk says:

      Sure, there are plenty of those, with “exclusive tracks.” But they have to be new releases (on the iTunes Store); they can’t just be existing releases with additions.

      Reply

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