I see that Deutsche Grammophon has launched an online music store. It’s notable for a number of things:
- it offers MP3 format without the curse of DRM (Digital Rights Management)
- the music is encoded to a very high quality (320 kbps instead of the more usual 192 kbps)
- the catalogue inludes recordings that are no longer available on CD.
The current catalogue contains 24,000 items, and the prices are reasonable. This is the first online music store that I’ve seen that I really feel tempted to buy from. Up until now, I’ve always resisted buying just bits (that is, MP3 files) – I really wanted the security of atoms in the form of a physical CD as well.
Update: Hmmm. Perhaps it’s because it’s the day of launch, but the web site is extraordinarily slow. It’s also very clumsily designed (IMHO) – new windows pop-up all over the place. I note that they also offer a promotion of one free track if you register before next February. Trouble is, they tell you to "enter your promotion code" when you check out the "free" track. It may be another teething problem – but I don’t seem to have got the promotion code… This experience is turning out to be frustrating and infuriating. Not a good sign for the success of DG’s venture…
Update 2: I was sent a message by one of the worker elves on the DG site, who provided me with a promotion code and encouraged me to try again. This time, I got as far as being told that the link to download my track had been sent in an email to me. Trouble was, it didn’t arrive. At least, not until 14 hours later. That seems to be rather a long delay for an online purchase experience. I hope that DG were just experiencing pressure from a large number of visitors. I’d hate to think that this is the norm. In any event, I do tip my hat to the person who took the trouble to try and help me out. That is good customer service and I appreciate it.