The suspicion was that iTunes much-ballyhooed new packaged-album format was little more than a sop to the record labels and their belief that the idea of throwing together seven or eight songs of mixed abilities is a sales proposition.
It looks like that might be the case, as when indie label owner Brian McKinney tried to bring his Chocolate Lab catalogue to the format, he got a response with shrift so short, it was immeasurable:
I contacted the digital distribution manager at my label's distributor. He had a conference call with an iTunes rep and asked how we go about putting an LP together. He was told that LPs aren't being offered to indies and that there are only about 12 LPs being offered right now. They also said that iTunes charges a $10,000 production fee for them as well. So that pretty much edges out the indie market completely.
In other words, by dinging the labels ten grand a time, Apple has merely invented a way to tax record label's beliefs in the album package.
This looks more and more like the results of a brainstorm which tried to answer the question "how can we look like we're doing our bit, but keeping the doomed-to-fail vibe at the heart of the plan?"