Monday, May 24, 2010

Premiere Destination for Classical Music Connoisseurs Launches Spring 2010

"The long-awaited US launch of Passionato.com, intended as the World Wide Web's 'premier destination for classical music connoisseurs,' has finally happened." Stereophile

May 25th, 2010 marks the launch of Passionato, a new destination for classical music connoisseurs on the web. Passionato’s aim is to replicate a “corner record store” experience with a reach far beyond the corner. Passionato offers classical music lovers the largest available collection of CD-quality DRM-free classical music downloads (Now at over 300,000 tracks with more added daily). With no subscription, no membership requirements and nothing to sign-up for, Passionato provides a wide-ranging collection of recording from major labels (including Deutsche Grammophon and Decca, as well as Virgin and EMI Classics) along with numerous independent labels (such as Naxos, Chandos, Telarc and BIS). "The site promises to be a goldmine," raves Stereophile, "music lovers will find thousands of hard-to-find and immensely desirable titles just a click away." Designed for classical music lovers, Passionato caters to the classical music enthusiast community by offering recordings in digital download form, free of digital rights management (DRM) software, transferable to any portable device and burnable to CD. Downloads will be offered both as high quality 320kbps DRM-free MP3 files and in the CD-quality lossless FLAC format. The Passionato store will also offer an unprecedented level of recording information made up of original editorial content as well as reviews, profiles and recording information provided by All Music Guide, Oxford University Press, Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine, the Penguin Guide and Fanfare. Of course, vitally important to making sure consumers find the artist and repertoire they are looking for from the vast number of recordings now available, Passionato offers the ability to search their extensive catalogue of recordings using multiple fields and intuitive search functionality. Though the site offers music in high quality 320-mbps MP3 format, the Passionato store is dedicated to offering customers the easiest and most effective way to experience lossless CD-quality FLAC files from the largest library of such files anywhere, in any genre of music. With unsurpassed sound quality, gapless play and backwards compatibility (a FLAC file can be used to create an MP3 of any quality for any player), FLAC is the most versatile music format available. Passionato is supporting FLAC because it has become the most widely supported lossless audio codec. Passionato also believes that audiophiles can depend on FLAC for archival-quality digital storage because it is the only open standards lossless format unencumbered by patents, and FLAC has been implemented in a wide spectrum of open source projects. Opened in a soft-launch phase in February of this year, Passionato has found that FLAC has indeed proven to be the most popular format on the site – representing over two-thirds of total sales. Passionato also offers a free player that can play MP3 and FLAC files. Created for Passionato by MediaMonkey, the Passionato Player can play files and arrange a library as well as sync up to devices like iPods and all mobile phones. All MP3 tracks purchased on the Passionato service can also be played and stored on popular music players such as iTunes (and iPod), Windows Media and Real Player. FLAC files can be played on a variety of players, including the Passionato Player, built by MediaMonkey. For Mac users, Passionato has asked MacWorld writer Kirk McElhearn to create a guide for downloading and converting FLAC files into the Apple Lossless format that can then be played on iTunes, and transferred to Apple’s music playing devices, like iPods, iPhones and iPads. “Passionato is a classical boutique founded and run by the very audience it aims to serve,” says Passionato founder James Glicker. “I wanted to have a place where I could access, search and organize CD-quality downloads of virtually any classical recording available – now about 40,000 and counting – in a way that provides complete information, a comprehensive catalog and intuitive search – basically everything the classical collector needs. I believe we have done just that. No other site can offer what Passionato can.“

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