Remember how cool it was the first time you used Apple’s Cover Flow feature to flip through artwork for albums you bought on iTunes? More than a decade after Apple introduced that feature, Apple Music is rolling out a cool update: animated album covers.
Apple added the feature in the beta versions of iOS 14.3 and macOS 11.1. As you might expect, the animated covers are not available across the board on day one. So far, they’re just starting to appear for certain artists — with beta users starting to find them and share them online.
One such artist is Future Utopia, whose new album 12 Questions debuted in October. The cover design was created by artist Ori Toor with animation by 1983.
It seems apple is allowing artists on apple music to have animated album artwork! pic.twitter.com/yugZHtcb6Q
— Will ️ (@onlyTrueWilliam) November 18, 2020
That means that it is the record label and not Apple that is creating the animations. (Not that I expected Apple would unilaterally take on the job of animating static album covers.) In turn, this suggests that — even if Apple gives the ability to add custom animations to every artist — record labels will need to create and add them. As a result, animated album covers could wind up showing only for bigger artists.
Apple Music animated album covers are awesome
This is definitely a fun feature for Apple to introduce. One of my big gripes about the transition from physical media to digital is that it downgrades the importance of great album cover art. With vinyl, an iconic cover is a major part of what makes an album memorable. In the digital age, covers are reduced to a simple thumbnail that you may not even remember. That trend probably isn’t ever going to reverse. But adding animation gives digital albums a neat design flourish that can’t be replicated by a physical album.
What do you think of animated album covers? Are you a beta user who has discovered any particularly cool ones yet? Let us know in the comments below.