Warner Music is to sell albums on DVD rather than CD, using the extra storage capacity to include iPod-compatible copies of the songs, along with other extras, such as ringtones and music videos.
The claim was made by the Wall Street Journal, which says Warner and Apple are in talks to make the move happen.
It's unclear if the discs - if they ever make it to market - would cost more than extra-less CD releases. Certainly there seems little incentive for Apple to make iPod-friendly versions of the songs available if it means one less sale made on its iTunes Music Store. But if Warner plans to include Windows Media DRM-protected versions of each disc's songs too, Apple may have little choice.
That said, the arrangement's not unlike the movie download approach pioneered by Universal. Its online partners sell downloads for the (almost) immediate gratification of the consumer but follow the sale up with a free copy of the DVD in the post. The download costs the same as the standard, un-discounted DVD would.
Warner appears to be doing the reverse - shipping the physical medium and providing the downloads for free - but the result is the same: consumers end up with discs and pre-ripped content. Warner's approach has the advantage that retailers can discount the price of the disc, making them much more competitive. That's not the case with Universal's downloads, which cost more than most retailers - online and offline - sell the regular DVD for. ®