Ministry of Sound (MoS), the U.K. independent music-and-media company, is launching an enhanced digital-download retail service as part of its ministryofsound.com Web site tomorrow (Oct. 3).
The 75,000-plus tracks from 2,500 independent labels, including MoS’ own repertoire, represent the first time the company has set itself up as a digital-music retailer.
However, the company will only consider high-quality recordings in the open MP3 format to ensure that customers can play the downloads on any digital music player, including Apple Computer’s iPod.
“We always did sell downloads but it was done in a piecemeal fashion and featured a few hundred tracks of mostly our own recordings,” Lohan Presencer, London-based managing director of The Ministry of Sound Group, told Billboard.biz. “This is now a fully fledged download store with mostly dance-music from independent labels from many countries.”
Examples of those labels include U.K.-based Defected Records and Renaissance Records.
Presencer said the company insisted on only digital recordings free of digital rights management (DRM) encryption, which the major labels have adopted to prevent unauthorized copying.
“I don’t understand DRM,” he asserted. “If you don’t want unprotected music, don’t manufacture CDs. It makes a nonsense of DRM.”
MoS sells the tracks under “channels” that are branded with names familiar to MoS music buyers. These include Clubbers Guide (dance music) Euphoria (hard trance music), Hed Kandi (funky house music), and Sessions (featuring the best DJs).
Each track is available in standard quality format or high quality format, with the latter targeted at DJs wanting to use the repertoire.
Although the average price per track is £0.99 ($1.86), MoS has adopted a variable pricing policy. The price for each track will be guided by the respective labels as dance music tracks range from two minutes in duration to 11 minutes or more, Presencer explained.
The service also offers bundles of tracks, including 13 tracks from the Clubbers Guide channel for £7.99 ($15.00)