Apple mixes cocktail to boost music album sales

New York (NY) – Digital downloads allows consumers to simply buy those music tracks they want and circumvent entire albums to cut out those tracks they could care less for. It is a trend the music industry has been watching with concern, but it seems that Apple is now taking a new approach to make the digital album much more attractive with a pack of interactive features code-named Cocktail.
Entire albums will reportedly get add-ons that are designed to become a digital booklet and replace what consumers were and still are used to receive when buying a music CD. This new digital booklet would, of course, be much more interactive than a printed booklet. Media reports suggest that Cocktail will come with photos, lyric sheets, video clips and liner notes that allow users to click through to digital items. Users will also be able to click into music directly from the digital booklet, without using iTunes, the Financial Times (FT) wrote.    

It appears that Apple is working with EMI, Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music Group to bring Cocktail to market as early as September. “It’s all about re-creating the heyday of the album when you would sit around with your friends looking at the artwork, while you listened to the music,” the FT quoted one source. “It’s not just a bunch of PDFs”. “There’s real engagement with the ancillary stuff.”

If these sources are correct, then Cocktail certainly is the most aggressive move to bring back album sales. However, we doubt if lyrics and liner notes are enough to convince consumers to buy a bunch of songs they would normally not buy. iTunes has created a trend that will be difficult to reverse. There needs to be true extra value and integration with the iPod, iPhones and other possibly more social music playing devices. At this time, we doubt that a digital booklet will substantially increase album sales.