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Apple offers free taste of iTunes LP format with 'Holiday Sampler'

Apple is promoting its new iTunes LP format with a free downloadable selection of 20 holiday songs from a variety of popular artists.

The free iTunes Holiday Sampler download includes a variety of artists from wide-ranging genres, such as Toby Keith, Weezer, Glasvegas, Barry Manilow, and comedian Stephen Colbert. The iTunes LP collects the songs from a variety of albums and compilations, with Christmas classics such as "The First Noel," "Silent Night, "Twelve Days of Christmas, and "O Holy Night."

First released in September, the unique iTunes LP format bundles an entire album with additional bonus content and accompanying graphics and design, all encased in an iTunes window. Apple reportedly created the format with the intent of spurring sales of entire albums, rather than just singles.

iTunes LP content, originally codenamed "Cocktail," is a multi-party collaboration between Apple and large record labels EMI, Sony, Warner and Universal. LP albums add audio, video, pictures, liner notes and more, exclusively to full-album purchases.

The iTunes Holiday Sampler includes lyrics for some of the songs, and album art showcasing what record the song was originally a part of. The winter graphics include falling snowflakes in the background.

Apple updated its Apple TV software to version 3.0 in October, bringing support for iTunes LP, as well as the movie bonus material iTunes Extras. With the update, users can view and play back iTunes LP content on their HDTV via the Apple TV.

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