iTunes LP Definition and Meaning

iTunes LP
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It may sound like an old vinyl record, but iTunes LP is Apple's enhanced music album format that is available on the iTunes Store. Apple first launched its iTunes LP standard (codenamed 'Cocktail') on Sept. 9, 2009, and was first accessible to users with the release of iTunes version 9. The music content in an iTunes LP album comes without DRM copy protection and is in the high quality 256 Kbps AAC format. The file that is downloaded to your hard drive can be identified by the .itlp extension and is a special format made from a library of resources called, TuneKit -- this is a framework based on technologies such as HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and others to provide website-like visuals (looks a bit like Adobe Flash in fact).

It is designed to give you a far richer experience than just purchasing and downloading a normal digital music track -- albums purchased in this format, therefore, have a lot more extra content included. With iTunes LP, Apple has tried to emulate the way in which vinyl albums were once packaged for a consumer's interactive enjoyment and has also added modern multimedia elements too. This enhanced content which is downloaded along with your iTunes LP album can be variable from one album to the next but can consist of bonus features such as:

  • Album covers.
  • Animated lyrics.
  • Exclusive interviews.
  • Liner notes.
  • Photo sets of the artist or band.
  • Bonus tracks.
  • Music videos.

For an example of an iTunes LP album, there are some free ones in the downloads section on the website -- incidentally, this (rather outdated) site isn't affiliated in any way with Apple, Inc. and the iTunes Store.

Minimum Computer System Requirements to View iTunes LP

In order to buy and view all the contents of an iTunes LP album on your computer, you will need to have version 9.0 or higher of the iTunes software and the following minimum hardware specifications.

For PC

  • Processor: 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo or equivalent
  • Memory: 1Gb of RAM
  • Graphics Display: 1280 x 800
  • Operating System: Windows XP Service Pack 2 or later

For Mac

  • Processor: 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Memory: 1Gb of RAM
  • Graphics Display: 1280 x 800
  • Operating System: Mac OS X version 10.5 or higher / Safari 4.0.3 or higher

Purchasing and Viewing iTunes LP Content

As previously mentioned, iTunes LP albums are available from the iTunes Store. As well as being able to use your computer to purchase these special music packages, it is also possible to browse and purchase iTunes LPs using an Apple device -- currently, this can be an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or an Apple TV (software update 3.0 and higher).

However, keep in mind that if using a mobile Apple device (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch) to purchase and download an album in the iTunes LP format, you will only be able to view the primary content on it. To get all of the LP features that come with your purchased item, you will need to download the extra content to an authorized iTunes computer. The reason why you don't get the full content downloaded to your Apple mobile device is that the combined content of these packages can be quite large -- some downloads can be well over 500Mb in size.

If you have purchased an iTunes LP on an Apple mobile device and want to be able to view all of the bonus content that comes with it, then you will have to sync your purchased album from your portable to your iTunes authorized computer. You will then be able to use the Check For Available Downloads option via the Store main menu tab.