Hamburg, 28th November 2007 – Deutsche Grammophon (DG), a division of Universal Music Group, the world’s leading music company, will become 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 (www.dgwebshop.com).
As the world’s leading classical music recording company, Deutsche Grammophon will launch its DG Web Shop on 28 November, enabling consumers in 42 countries to download music at the highest technical and artistic standards. This global penetration includes 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.
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.”
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 experts agree is indistinguishable 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).
Through the launch of this new portal, drawing on the existing strength of its 250,000 unique web site visitors per month, the company once again shows that tradition and technical progress can be combined, and that new distribution channels can be created to appeal to a wider range of music consumers.
Among the highlights of the DG Web Shop are almost 600 album titles which are no longer available as CDs – these have been specially converted into MP3 files for the DG Web Shop, making them available as downloads – with more out-of-print titles to follow. The goal is to digitize all the great Deutsche Grammophon recordings to be accessible for download – a treasure of music history, always available.
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. In contrast to many other digital download services all tracks are available for sale regardless of length.
To design and operate the DG Web Shop, Deutsche Grammophon has partnered with DDD (Germany) and Fresh Digital Inc. (UK). The DG Web Shop will begin by accepting purchases both in US dollars and euros, depending on the residence of the customer. Prices are competitive with current e-business pricing. For example, individual titles with a playing time of up to seven minutes will be priced as low as $/€1.29; while regular-length albums – with/without "e-booklets" (ie, cover-art, photographs, and liner notes) – will sell for between $/€10.99 and $/€11.99.
All titles will be offered as 320 kbps MP3s without Digital Rights Management (DRM), as part of Universal Music Group’s ongoing market trials of DRM-free downloads, announced earlier this year. This means that DG Web Shop downloads will be compatible with all portable music players including iPods and Walkmans; and, of course, burnable to CD.
Michael Lang emphasized, "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. In concrete terms, this means establishing innovative sales channels and concepts: by attracting the classical novice and, of course, those already steeped in the genre – and everyone in-between – as they transfer from being only CD buyers to exploring the advantages of downloading, in CD-comparable audio. This web shop's easy-to-use search function helps all music enthusiasts find and select music by categories such as genre, composer, artist, as well as filter by awards, reviews and series."
Music fans without downloading experience will have easy access to the world of the DG Web Shop. "We're offering music consumers a user-friendly 3-click process – the easiest way to load our music on their computer and MP3 player," explained Daniel Goodwin, head of Deutsche Grammophon's Marketing & Media department. "The shop is part of Deutsche Grammophon's ever-popular, newly redesigned web-site, containing news, e-booklets, promotion videos, tour dates, and more, as well as detailed information on the composer’s works, recordings, and artists on Deutsche Grammophon. It now makes our web shop also a well-rounded music boutique".
As Christopher Roberts, President, Classics & Jazz, Universal Music Group International, summarizes, "The DG Web Shop will play a defining role in the digital marketplace – superior audio, easy-to-use and compatible with all players. Now the greatest classical music recordings are available world-wide."
Industry insiders expect strong growth rates for downloading classical music during the coming years. Price Waterhouse Coopers, for example, in its study Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2006-2010 forecast that digital turnover will triple between 2007 and 2010.
About Deutsche Grammophon
Deutsche Grammophon was founded in Hanover, Germany in 1898 by Emil Berliner and his brothers. After WW I the company grew into the most important German record company. Renowned, international classical artists on Deutsche Grammophon helped the company to achieve worldwide market leadership for classical recordings in the 20th century – and today it is regarded as the premium brand in the classical world, winning this year's Gramophone magazine "Label of the Year" award. Now based in Hamburg, it's the largest dedicated classical music recording company today.
Further information is available at www.deutschegrammophon.com