The grandaddy of all high-class classical music recording companies, Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft has today opened up their online download site, which features non-DRM mp3 files encoded at a lavish 320kbps. The site has available for download most of DGG’s latest releases (including the Cleveland Orchestra’s new recording of the Beethoven 9th Symphony, which up to now has only been available for download from iTunes in a lower-resolution format with DRM protection. I’m glad I waited….) and a host of classic recordings, many of which have been out of print in CD format and are now available as downloads.
Registration for the site is easy, although you do have to surrender your name and email address to them. If you sign up for their email newsletter they give you one free track download. (I chose the “Adagietto” movement from Mahler’s Symphony no. 5, performed by the acclaimed Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, conducted by the hot young composer Gustavo Dudamel. All went smoothly with the download, although it was a bit slow–I can imagine that there may be a run on the DGG servers on their first day of operation.)
This is big! DGG is following the lead of EMI, Chandos, and some other smaller labels. We can hope that the other branches of the Universal Music Group (Decca main among them) will follow DGG’s first step. Warner Music and Sony BMG, where are you? Come on in–the classical music audience isn’t going to steal you blind.