Pitchfork today announced the launch of Pitchfork Advance, a music streaming platform that the site will use for full-length, pre-release album previews. But the publication wants Advance to be about much more than simply hearing a new album before its street date; Pitchfork says it hopes to "emulate the classic album experience" with the tool. It will accomplish that through an interactive listening experience that incorporates album art, lyrics, credits, track listings, artist bios, and other enhancements. "In the vinyl and CD eras, album packaging was considered an extension of the music," said Pitchfork's founder and CEO Ryan Schreiber. "The artwork, lyric inserts, and credits added another dimension that mp3s haven't replicated. Our hope is to bring that experience online."
The project resembles a similar initiative Apple took on with iTunes LP, which gave publishers the ability to add liner notes, band photos, videos, and other media to albums in the company's digital music store. But the expanded functionality still seems like an afterthought for many major artists, so Pitchfork has an opportunity to lend its readers a more intimate experience. Pitchfork Advance launches today with Yo La Tengo's upcoming release Fade as the first streamable album.