DG selling classical catalog via Web site

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LONDON -- Classical music giant Deutsche Grammophon will make the bulk of its catalog available online from Wednesday when it relaunches its Web site and presses the button on a new digital download store.

The company, a division of Universal Music Group, said the goal of the service is to digitize the entire catalog of DG, which was founded in Hanover, Germany, in 1898.

At launch, the new DG Web Shop will offer nearly 2,500 classical albums, of which more than 600 titles are no longer available as CDs. More deleted titles will follow, the company said.

The online store will go live in 40 territories, and will service rising digital markets such as China, India, South Africa and Russia.

And as part of UMG's ongoing DRM-free download trial, all titles will be offered in MP3 format, at a transfer bit-rate of 320 kilobits per second.

"By launching this easy-to-use, intuitive DG Web Shop, we are not only expecting a significant growth in turnover but are also aiming to solidify and expand the digital future," said Michael Lang, president of Deutsche Grammophon.

Customers can buy tracks in U.S. dollars and euros, depending on their residence. Individual titles with a playing time of up to seven minutes will be priced from $1.09/1.09 euros, while regular-length albums will sell for between $10.99/10.99 euros and $11.99/11.99 euros.

In a move to exploit the growing digital market for classical music, Universal Classics & Jazz launched its own download service in January, boasting what it claimed was the largest online destination for classical and jazz genre downloads, starting with more than 125,000 titles, including works from the DG catalog.
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