EMI France is experimenting with a new format which combines an illustrated collector book with codes to unlock digital downloads. The new DigHitBook format will be tested May 30 with the release of

EMI France is experimenting with a new format which combines an illustrated collector book with codes to unlock digital downloads.

The new DigHitBook format will be tested May 30 with the release of alternative rock act Phoenix's "It's Never Been Like That." The CD version of the album streeted May 15.

The Phoenix DigHitBook is clearly geared towards fans, with only 2,000 copies selectively distributed in a dozen countries. The product will be priced at around €25 ($32).

The French band designed the English-language book and selected its photos, many of which have been unpublished until now.

The book also includes a code to download the full album for free on iTunes Music Store.

"The DigHitBook is very adaptable, says Morvan Boury, EMI France deputy director and VP of strategy and development. "We are testing a prototype that we will develop according to the results. This object can also contribute educating people on legal download."

Boury adds that the DigHitBook might be further used to support catalog.

While the French music market slumped by 12% in the first quarter of 2006, EMI France has been exploring a series of new formats on mobile and Internet. "I don't believe that any new format will be the killer one," says Boury. "It's a matter of adapting your strategy to the universe of each artist."

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