Saturday, December 15, 2007

Still impressed with the DG Web Shop

I've now bought some more things from the DG Web Shop. I am going to call the match-up between the newcomer and the well-established iTunes Music Store in favor of the former right now.

The back catalog available from DG is just too impressive. You can get two of the Herbert von Karajan Wiener Staatsoper releases (1963's Tannhäuser and 1964's Die Frau ohne Schatten), for example, which were never really available here in the States. The iTMS has a good back-catalog selection (provided, in part, by ArkivMusic), but nothing like DG's. There are some recordings, like Sinopoli's Bruckner 8th, that I would like to see, but that's a minor quibble over a very specialized recording.

The prices, too, are reasonable - as I mentioned. They are within three or four dollars of iTMS at the outside. That is not nearly enough of a difference to be a deal-breaker one way or the other. Price some of this stuff online, if you like, and you'll see that you're getting a deal either way.

Of course, the sound-quality and subsequent downloading once you've bought your music are great benefits to the DG shop. The Apple store is too variable (even stuff in the same series on the same label vacillates between 128 kbps and 256 kbps) and once you've got it, that's it, as far as Apple is concerned. DG's store is friendlier to the consumer in both regards: 320 kbps and more than one download. I assume that there is a limit to the latter, but I don't know.

If you want to do online music, and you should at this point, even if the files are lossy (and I should explain why at some point in the future), DG is the way of the future and the way to go. I can only hope that Universal opens similar stores for Decca, Philips, and the rest of the Universal Classics properties. EMI has its deal with Apple, so I imagine the only way to get high-bitrate, legal EMI downloads is to go through iTMS, but if DGG, Philips, and Decca hit the US market - game over for classical.

There's just too much good stuff in the Universal stables to deal with Apple's weird proprietary concerns and inconsistent bitrate. Universal doesn't stand to lose anything by throwing a bunch of data on the mighty interweb. I assume that most of those recordings have already more than paid for themselves in hard-media form, or will soon, so its likely pure profit. Everybody, in that case, wins.

I like the DGWS, probably more now than I did before, if you hadn't noticed.


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