12 September 2008

Appassionato about Passionato

By now, it's evident that the old model of music distribution is irredeemably broken. This has led to various attempts to offer download services, but most of them have been horribly half-hearted, with one or more fatal flaws (and that includes iTunes, whose use of DRM means that it just doesn't cut the mustard.)

Against that background, I can only wonder at Passionato, a new online service for the world of classical music - it's gets just about everything right:

Passionato's aim is to become the world's most comprehensive online classical resource and offer classical music lovers the largest available collection of high-quality DRM-free classical music downloads. Passionato provides access to catalogues from the two largest major labels (Universal Music and EMI Classics) as well as the key independent classical labels including Naxos (the biggest independent), Chandos (one of the premier British independent labels), Avie and Arts.

Designed for classical music lovers, Passionato's main features are: DRM-free recordings, transferable to any portable device and burnable to CD; high audio quality downloads (320kbps DRM-free MP3 and lossless FLAC); access to free software the Passionato Player specifically developed to help organise users' existing Classical CDs alongside tracks purchased through the Passionato Store; an unprecedented level of recording information which users benefit from when they download a track, work or album, and when they import their own CD libraries to their computers; the ability to search Passionato's recordings using over 20 fields, including by work, composer, conductor, venue and recording engineer.

Passionato does not employ any DRM (Digital Rights Management) technology. This means your purchase allows you to transfer your downloaded audio files to your portable player, CDs and other media for personal use. Purchase does not include file transfer for commercial purpose.

Not only no DRM, but high-quality MP3 *and* lossless FLAC format - just what audiophiles love.

The site is still a little rough at the edges, and the prices are rather on the high side, but those are details that can be dealt with later: the core ideas look spot on. I hope the new service thrives - not least so that it can act as an example to others who have less of a clue.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Surely the price is exactly what they do need to get right. £8 for a download is hardly a bargain. You can often get a fairly decent physical classical CD for about half that amount. To me it just smacks of the usual large record company rip-off mania. They should sack a few overpaid and useless execs and get real...

glyn moody said...

Pricing is relatively easy to fix: indeed, the market is designed to help fix it. DRM and other ideological idiocies are not, so at least it's start from somewhere that let's it get where it needs to go....

Anonymous said...

I think you underestimate the extent to which the conventional recording industry is an oligopoly and the greed of oligopolists. (£1.50 for a classical CD download anyone?). Expecting existing media corporations to adopt new economic models is a bit like expecting Billy G. to embrace free software.

glyn moody said...

Well, strangely, I *do* expect Microsoft to embrace free software ultimate, because it's a better way of making and selling software - just digital downloads are a better way of selling music....

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I thought I said Billy G. not Microsoft. I've got no problems with Joseph Schumpeter.

glyn moody said...

Well, I can't see Bill Gates selling free software *personally* from the back of his van, but I can see Micosoft doing it....