Rhino launches Digital 45 sales format

Releases will contain single, B-side, original artwork

DENVER -- Warner Music Group's Rhino Entertainment division is introducing a digital sales format called the Digital 45, in celebration of the 60-year anniversary of the 45-single.

Starting Tuesday, the company will release a series of digital "singles" -- comprising the original single, the B-side song and original sleeve and other artwork -- through iTunes and other digital retailers. iTunes, for instance, will feature 60 such releases, compiled in a Digital 45 section on its main storefront, such as "Take It Easy"/"Get You in the Mood" by the Eagles and "Kiss"/"Love or Money" by Prince, for either $1.49 or $1.99.

Rhino will continue to release another 25 such bundles every month to participating digital retailers. Those sold on iTunes will contain a bonus PDF containing the original sleeve or label art when available.

Many of the songs included in the bundle are making their debut in the digital format, including Jackson Browne's "The Crowe on the Cradle," and James Taylor's "I Can Dream of You."

The new effort comes several years after Rhino first began experimenting with alternative digital bundles though the Hi5 program. That initiative, which continues Tuesday, compiles a number of deeper-cut tracks with a hit single from a given artists in the Rhino catalog for a total of 5 tracks sold at a cheaper price than if all were purchased individually.

David Dorn, Rhino senior vp e-commerce and international catalog strategy, recently explained the company's digital bundling strategies to Billboard in a Q&A.