Brian McKinney, who runs Chicago's Chocolate Lab Records, claimed at the weekend that iTunes charges a $10,000 production fee for iTunes LP, a new digital format that pairs additional content such as lyrics and videos with album downloads.
In a follow up email, Mckinney adds, "I should note that it is currently possible to design an iTunes LP independently. 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."
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.