Universal Music Group International is resuscitating its deleted European repertoire exclusively for digital downloading in an extensive multi-year program.

Universal Music Group International is resuscitating its deleted European repertoire exclusively for digital downloading in an extensive multi-year program.

UMGI's move to reissue deleted tracks -- recordings no longer represented on a label's active catalog -- represents a significant opportunity for the burgeoning digital music business.

The first batch of digitized titles will focus on 3,000 tracks from the United Kingdom, France and Germany. Titles will be available through all UMGI's online business partners from mid-February. They will comprise tracks recorded during the last 40 years, vintage and rare titles from such artists as Marianne Faithfull, Fairport Convention and Chris DeBurgh plus continental artists like Eddy Mitchell, Nana Mouskouri, Noir Desir and Brigitte Bardot.

"Over the next three to four years, we aim to reissue perhaps as many as 10,000 albums for downloading, which amounts to more than 100,000 tracks," says London-based Barney Wragg, senior VP of UMGI's eLabs unit. "This program will offer material that, in some cases, goes back to the early days of recorded music."

Wragg also suggests that the move will enable UMGI to help meet the demands of digital purchasers seeking a more extensive repertoire to select from online. Another selection of deleted UMGI titles is planned for delivery to digital music stores by year's end.