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New iTunes albums in time for Apple Tablet

Apple is to join forces with the four biggest record labels to boost online sales of complete albums over the more popular single tracks.

Apple is to join forces with the four biggest record labels to boost online sales of complete albums over the more popular single tracks.

The firm is to bundle video clips, interactive booklets, sleeve notes and lyrics to attract users of its iTunes store to the higher-margin albums, according to the Financial Times.

Album sales in the US fell 14% in 2008, according to Nielsen SoundScan, which tracks retail sales data.

Apple is working with EMI, Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music Group on the project, which is scheduled to be launched in September.

The album project comes as Apple races to complete a portable, full-featured, tablet-sized touch-sensitive computer with a 10-inch screen by the end of the year.

This updates recent reports that the Apple tablet, rumoured for years, was scheduled for release early in 2010.

According to the FT, the device could be launched with the new content deals, including those aimed at stimulating sales of CD-length music.

The device will connect to the internet like the iPod Touch to access Apple's online stores and has attracted interest from online video and book suppliers.

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