Label and digital-music veteran Thomas V. Ryan has started a mail-order music business, Virtu. The company plans to issue three two-disc compilations per year, spotlighting progressive rock, dance/ele

Label and digital-music veteran Thomas V. Ryan has started a mail-order music business, Virtu. The company plans to issue three two-disc compilations per year, spotlighting progressive rock, dance/electronic, hip-hop and world music. The releases are sold online at virtu.tv; they can be purchased individually or on a one- or two-year subscription plan.

The first collection from Virtu, "See Level," includes tracks by Arto Lindsay, Wax Poetic Featuring Norah Jones, Metro Area, Chris Brann and Herbert.

Each collection will be available in two forms: the limited-edition "V-pack," which resembles a thick book ($49.99 each), or the "premium" jewel-case edition ($29.99). A one-year V-pack subscription costs $119.97; a premium subscription is $71.97.

Each edition will feature packaging designed by visual artists. The art direction and design for "See Level" was handled by Han Lin.

Ryan, who will compile and write extensive liner notes for each volume, says Virtu's primary role is as a tastemaker and catalyst for musical discovery.

Ryan was a founder in 1996 of Cductive, one of the first digital music companies. In 2001, he co-founded hip-hop and electronic label Coup d' Etat.
New Mail-Order Biz Offers Eclectic Compilations

Virtu collections sold individually or by subscription.