Big news on the time-marches-on front. Deutsche Grammophon (DG) yesterday became the first major classical record label to make the majority of its huge catalogue available online for download with the launch of its new DG Web Shop.
The DG Web Shop allows consumers in 42 countries to download music, including–the press folks claim–markets where the major e-business retailers, such as iTunes, are not yet available: Southeast Asia including China, India, Latin America, South Africa, and Central and Eastern Europe including Russia.
Almost 2,400 DG albums will be available for download in maximum MP3 quality at a transfer bit-rate of 320 kilobits per second (kbps) – an audio-level that is indistinguishable to most of us from CD quality audio; and which exceeds the usual industry download-standard of 128-192 kbps (as well as EMI’s 256 kbps on iTunes, the press folks helpfully observe). Most prices are in the $12 range, which is not too bad I suppose although they’d be making a nice profit at half that.
The best feature, from my perspective, is that 600 out-of-print CDs are now available again as downloads.