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CLASSICAL  November 2007

CLASSICAL November 2007

Subject:

Some Thoughts on www.dgwebshop.com

From:

Kevin Sutton <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 28 Nov 2007 16:30:46 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (59 lines)

Effective at midnight Central European Time on November 28, the Deutsche
Grammophon Gesellschaft made a giant leap into the twenty-first century
by making more than 2400 of their recordings (some 600 of them out of
print until now) available in high quality digital downloads.  The site,
www.dgwebshop.com is impressive indeed with its detailed information,
its vast selection, a free download for signing up for the news letter
and more.

Being the dutiful technophile that I am, I waited anxiously for the hour
to arrive when I could dive into DGG heaven and start downloading tracks.
One must give any big online enterprise the benefit of the doubt in its
first hours of launch, but I must say that I was pretty annoyed at the
"system error" that prevented me from making my purchase for the first
three hours of attempts.  Finally, I made it through, buying the Beethoven
"Kreutzer" sonata performed by Vadim Repin and Martha Argerich.

To say that these sorts of services are the wave of the future is
a no brainer.  What is irksome about DGG's offering is their obvious
arrogance in pricing.  Tracks range from US $1.29 to as much as US $4.69
to purchase.  This makes each set of downloads offered equivalent to the
price of a compact disc of the same material.  The site contains lots
of media information and program notes about the releases which you can
print out if you like, but still, the thought of paying five bucks for
an MP3 file, when other labels such as Naxos offer them on Rhapsody(T)
for 89=A2 is pretty ridiculous.  A bit of research shows that Universal
Classics have charge a similar price on Rhapsody.  A comparison with the
asking price for a track from Virgin Classics, Telarc and Naxos show
that DGG and their siblings are gouging the public.

While I welcome the high audio quality of the DGG product, and I am
delighted to have so much of their impressive back catalog at my instant
disposal, I must rail against the high price.  Given that there are no
warehousing, shipping, packaging or distribution costs for electronic
files, I cannot find a single excuse to charge full retail cd prices for
a digital download save greed.  It simply seems that Universal Classics
are displaying an inflated sense of self-worth when many other classical
labels are selling their MP3 downloads for less than a dollar per track,
regardless of length.

Having said that, I still must praise the enterprise, and the
high audio quality of its product, both of which are impressive and
comprehensive.  One can only hope that other labels will soon follow
suit.  It is becoming more and more a reality that one's stereo system
will soon consist of a laptop and a good amplifier and speakers.  Being
a frequent traveler, I depend more and more on my computer as a compact
and seemingly endless source of entertainment.  A small investment in
a set of good computer speakers has made my Hewlett-Packard scarcely
distinguishable from the 4000 dollar stereo system that takes up half
my living room.  Viva progress!  Now DGG, lower your prices and get real
here!  We anxiously await your reality check and the opportunity to do
business at a reasonable rate.

Kevin Sutton

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