The Rolling Stones Selling HD Catalog OnlineMarch 03, 2011
The Rolling Stones plan to sell high-quality downloads of their first 27 records for the first time online.
The premiere batch of five went on sale Tuesday for $20 or $30 each depending on sound quality. The rest will debut on the first of each month until September, said representatives for ABKCO Music & Records, which owns the rights to the band's early recordings, and its retail partner.
To sell the high-definition digital music, ABKCO has saddled up with HDtracks, a small online retailer that specializes in primo-quality albums. The agreement isn't exclusive, but the deal was natural because HDtracks is one of the few websites that currently targets the "audiophile" niche.
Professional music producers generally capture studio recordings in a 24-bit, high-fidelity audio format. But before the originals are pressed onto CDs or distributed to digital sellers like Apple's iTunes, they're downgraded to 16-bit files, which audiophiles say don't sound as good.
HDtracks may have some competition from the paid-download giants soon, however. Apple and other Web retailers are in talks with major labels about offering high-quality songs, music executives said.