What Bono Meant By a 'New Format' For Music

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U2's Bono at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., during 1987's The Joshua Tree tour, which helped the album sell 10 million copies. 

In a forthcoming cover feature on U2 and its techno-fueled resurgence in Time magazine, Bono referenced that the band's forthcoming album, titled Songs of Experience and due in a year-and-a-half, will be released in a "new format" that would offer immersive experiences with the music and that couldn't be pirated. Naturally, word of a new "format" got the tech-inclined in a knot, wondering if Saint Bono was auguring the return of DRM restrictions within a new, higher-quality file type.

Everyone calm down. While Apple refused to comment, sources with knowledge of the situation tell Billboard that Bono's use of the word "format" was a bit of a misnomer. "It's not a new format, but rather a new way to package and present an album," our source explains. "This is focused on creative advances, versus shifts in technology." This is not Pono in file form.

Apple has tread this path before, in the music and film industries, through its iTunes LP and iTunes Extras formats. iTunes LP, introduced in 2009, gave labels and artists an extra creative arm for the presentation of digital albums, with exclusive material like interactive artwork. iTunes Extras offered similar functionality for films, with exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes materials.

The forthcoming new product from Apple and U2 can be expected to further LP and Extras in significant ways -- in the Time feature, Bono mentions that the format will be television-ready --  though exactly how can be left, for now, to the imagination. We'll keep our fingers crossed that it features an iPad game inspired by the "Numb" video.