Major labels prepare new digital file format for albums

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Apple iPhone 3G S

Sony, Warner, Universal and EMI are reportedly preparing the new 'album format' that will include songs, lyrics, videos, notes and artwork.

Under a working title of CMX, the file format is planned to be launched in November, though whether Apple will be on board already looks in doubt.

According to The Times newspaper, Apple rejected CMX and instead began work on an in-house alternative called Cocktail. It is not clear how Cocktail and CMX will differ, other than ownership.

"Apple at first told us that they were not interested, but now they have decided to do their own, in case ours catches on," a label rep told The Times.

"Ours will be a file that you click on, it opens and it would have a brand new look, with a launch page and all the different options. When you click on it you're not just going to get the 10 tracks, you're going to get the artwork, the video and mobile products."

More choice or just more confusion for consumers? We shall see...