One of the first things I do each morning is login to iTunes, check for any new Apps, and then see what’s new in music.  I was thrilled this morning to see a new Live Anthology from Tom Petty in the new “iTunes LP” format was released today.


Here’s the iTunes banner that teased me into buying the new anthology.

iTunes LP only works with iTunes version 9 or later and Apple TV version 3.0 or later.

When you fire up the iTunes LP, you are presented with a master menu that is both visually and emotionally pleasing.  In the Tom Petty version, the speakers thump with animation as your selection is anticipated.

Playing the entire album brings up the following moving screen.  The images scroll by up and down and sideways to create a stunning, aesthetic, overwash.  It’s animated wallpaper. 

If you choose to pick a song to play, you get the title and the place where it was recorded live.

When you find a song you like and click on it, you get even more information about the provenance of the song.

The weakest part of the iTunes LP idea is in the presentation of the multimedia additions. 

Okay, so this is an easy way to play a few of the bundled music videos… but the feeling is a bit stale and tiny.

Liner Notes are finally given the importance they deserve.

The “Galleries” on the Petty Anthology are sparse.  You get microscopic images that don’t reveal much information.

If you try to click on a gallery image, nothing happens.  You can see bits and pieces, but never a coherent whole.

I like Tom Petty and I love the idea of buying iTunes LPs — let’s hope the next one I purchase has a little more interactive content than just clicking and pressing the “Home” button to get back to the main menu.

9 Comments

  1. I was immediately curious to see if this iTunes LP would be available as a physical vinyl LP as well and it is — “merely” seven times more than iTunes or CD! Wow. From the description —

    This vinyl format of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ The Live Anthology features fifty-one tracks mastered directly from the uncompressed 24-bit 96K files, and pressed on seven 180-gram audiophile quality vinyl LPs. The packaging is an album sized bound book with seven pockets to hold the discs (with artwork by renowned contemporary artist Shepard Fairey), and a removable booklet in the back with liner notes offering personal perspective on the band and their music by Tom Petty, Warren Zanes, Bill Flanagan, Robert Hilburn, Joel Selvin, Austin Scaggs, and Phil Sutcliffe.

    Please excuse my recent obsession with vinyl! I think it ties into my recent move into my own dwelling space. 🙂

  2. iTunes are trying “recreate” the experience of the big LP of 30 years ago by re-imagining it and making the musical experience more immersive, Katha. The idea is good, but I’m just not sure “LP” is the right name for the idea.

  3. Very cool! I love the description of the “hold in your hand” version, Gordon! Do you think it is worth the price difference?
    Is vinyl still vinyl or is there a better type of vinyl being used now?
    How does your new place relate to a renewed vinyl appreciation?

  4. Great questions, David. I think the price difference would be worth it if I were more of a fan of his. The vinyl being used now is almost exclusively 150g vinyl, which is heavier and therefore more durable.
    From October of 2008 until the end of this last July, I had no permanent place — I was drifting from place to place. Therefore it would be poor planning to buy anything as large and clumsy to move about as vinyl. Now that I’m in a place where I hope to live for quite a few years, I feel like my house is my home and I can solidify that connection with beautiful vinyl. 🙂

  5. I am not a big Tom Petty fan, either, Gordon. I do not like his voice at all but his songs are good. The fact that this is a live album changes his voice a bit to something more listenable to my ear and, believe me, I tested out each 30 second preview before hitting the buy button to see if I could tolerate his whine…
    Would I have leapt at the buy button if it were not an “LP” version from iTunes? Probably not. I was incredibly curious to see just how the technology would enhance the music and I was impressed.
    Ah! Now I get it about the vinyl! Thanks for the explanation between plastic and living in once place.
    I think it’s great vinyl is making a comeback and that the plastic is getting better and everlasting.

  6. I remember the LPs of my Grandpa’s collection, he was a real connoisseur of music – both Indian and Western — so I can easily say, the “LP era” is my first introduction of music.
    Why do you think LP is not the right name? Does it sound too old?

  7. That’s an excellent question, Katha. “LP” means “long playing” — that indicated an album held more songs than the “single” 45’s:
    http://www.ieeeghn.org/wiki/index.php/LP_and_45_RPM_Records
    To me, “LP” means vinyl and it is finite and limited in the amount of time — perhaps 22 minutes per side on average — and that limitation does not help iTunes with its endless possibilities.
    I would’ve preferred “iTunes Enhanced Album” or something that suggests a total package that can grow and be updated in time.
    Most youngsters today under the age of 25 probably have no idea what “LP” means so Apple are obviously coming after us who are familiar with the terminology and we can picture in our minds what an “LP” should look like and feel like.