Universal Music Group (UMG) and its subsidiary Deutsche Grammophon (DG) is set to make the majority of its huge classical music catalogue available online for download. The DG Web Shop launches today.
DG Web Shop allows consumers in 42 countries, including China, India, Latin America, South Africa, and Central and Eastern Europe including Russia, to download music. Individual titles with a playing time of up to seven minutes will be priced as low as €1.29; while regular-length albums will sell for between €10.99 and €11.99.
Almost 2,400 DG albums will be available for download. Tracks will be downloaded in maximum MP3 quality at a transfer bit-rate of 320 kilobits per second (kbps). This audio level exceeds the usual industry download-standard of 128-192 kbps - as well as EMI's 256 kbps on iTunes Plus. All titles will be offered as 320 kbps MP3s without Digital Rights Management (DRM). This means that downloads will be compatible with all portable music players including iPods, iPhones and Walkmans. Tracks will also be burnable to CD with no restriction.
Michael Lang, President of Deutsche Grammophon, stated: "Our company was founded over 110 years ago, and since then, it has stood for innovation and quality.
"During the development of our new web shop, we remained true to these principles as we continue to expand the digital music marketplace with our range of download services."
The DG Web Shop will also sell almost 600 album titles which are no longer available as CDs with, according to UMG, more out-of-print titles to follow. UMG intends to digitize all Deutsche Grammophon recordings to be accessible for download.
Visitors to the web shop have the choice of buying entire albums, collections of albums and box-sets - or individual movements, complete works, and individual pieces.