B&W Music Club Debuts Lossless Music Service

Posted by at 11:55 pm on January 1, 2009

Bowers & Wilkins has teamed up with Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios to offer the world’s first music download service that is about quality rather than quantity. The B&W Music Club is a unique partnership between Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios and Bowers & Wilkins. Part of B&W’s Society of Sound an online community for audiophiles and music fans, the B&W Music Club offers exclusive monthly albums to its members, which are downloadable in the Apple Lossless or FLAC formats to provide CD-quality sound.

For a small annual or six-monthly subscription fee, B&W Music Club offers one specially commissioned album each month, recorded in dedicated live sessions at Real World Studios near Bath in the UK. Albums are available to download for one month only and are provided without Digital Rights Management (DRM) to enable use across a variety of playback media.

Alongside B&W Music Club, B&W’s radically updated and expanded Society of Sound website is created for people with a passion for sound. As well as blogs and feature articles, Society of Sound features regular podcasts hosted by Martyn Ware (Heaven 17, Human League) and video interviews with its Fellows including; Real World’s Peter Gabriel, composer James Newton Howard, jazz singer Cassandra Wilson, Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics and the seminal British designer Kenneth Grange, amongst others.

Dan Haikin, Brand Director, B&W said at the launch: “B&W’s business is built on being passionate about music and sound quality. In Society of Sound we have created a meeting place for people who share our passions. The B&W Music Club takes this a step further by providing exclusive opportunities for people to hear an eclectic mix of new music from a diverse range of artists at super-high fidelity.”

“For many people today, music has become a background noise or commodity. The MP3 revolution has placed convenience over quality. B&W Music Club redresses this by creating exclusive live albums from a hand-picked selection of leading musicians as high quality downloads.”

By providing free studio time, mixing sessions and eventually returning the rights to artists, B&W Music Club provides a great opportunity for new bands to professionally record new material, as well as offering more well-known artists a chance to experiment or collaborate on interesting side projects.

Peter Gabriel said: “This collaboration with B&W is unique as far as I know and it’s going to allow a lot of interesting projects to happen. For artists, B&W Music Club is a dream proposition because they get some great time in the studio, access to really good recording facilities and can experiment without being committed to anything or anyone beyond a month with B&W.”

Since it’s launch in May 2008, B&W Music Club has brought members a wide variety of different musical styles, all from exceptional artists: Little Axe, featuring legendary blues guitarist Skip McDonald; Grindhouse (mondo cane) a new collaboration from Dominic Greensmith (Reef) and Gareth Hale; Gwyneth Herbert; Dub Colossus; former Suede frontman Brett Anderson; guitarist Tom Kerstens; LA’s Julianna Raye; and 16-year old piano prodigy Benjamin Grosvenor.   Two months after the live sessions are first offered to B&W Music Club members, B&W returns the rights for the albums to the artists. Future releases include offerings from UK Jazz four-piece Portico Quartet and Dengue Fever, a Los Angeles band that blends Cambodian pop music with West Coast psychedelic rock.

Membership of B&W Music Club costs $39.95 for six months or $59.95 for a year. Based on a yearly membership, this means B&W Music Club members receive 12 albums for less than $5 per album. B&W also offers free trial memberships via its website, where users can download a four-track EP a month for three months. Each download will be supplied DRM-free in lossless format, at around half the file size of a CD recording and will include printable color sleeve artwork to enable members to create CD albums from the downloaded files.

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