Sony BMG Italy has launched what it boasts is the country's first entirely digital label. The CD-less label has been called H2O on account of its "liquid format." First releases will be issued in Marc

Sony BMG Italy has launched what it boasts is the country's first entirely digital label. The CD-less label has been called H2O on account of its "liquid format." First releases will be issued in March.

Partners on the project include BMG Ricordi Music Publishing and cell phone operator 3 Italia, which will cross-promote the service on its online portal.

Andrea Rosi, Sony BMG Italy's executive director of digital distribution and business development, is responsible for running H2O. Luca Fantacone, who previously worked for the indie label, Nun Entertainment, will be an A&R consultant.

Rosi says H2O plans to work on roughly 15 productions in its first year of operation. Rosi tells Billboard.biz its aims are "to develop a nursery for young, unsigned artists who can grow by recording one track at a time, while avoiding the stress of having to complete an album."

Rosi adds that "our second aim is to offer digital distribution opportunities to independent artists who might already have a CD (but not a digital) deal elsewhere."

Tracks will be distributed through the usual digital channels, he says, adding "if the market requires it, we may proceed to a CD release at a later date."