NEWS: Peter Gabriel and B&W launch high-quality download club

Speaker manufacturer B&W has teamed up with Peter Gabriel and his Real World Studios, to create Music Club, a new download service dedicated to high-quality digital distribution and the promotion of new artists.

At the exclusive launch at the Real World Studio complex in Bath, Gabriel and B&W's Dan Haikin (above) set out the thinking behind the new service, as well as introducing some great live performances from featured artists.

Music Club, which will go live this week, is a subscription service. For £23.95 for six months – or £33.95 for the whole year – members will receive a complete downloaded album every month.

The albums will be downloaded DRM-free and using the high-quality Apple Lossless format, offering users a way of accessing music through digital distribution without making any compromises in terms of sonic quality.

Some of the artists to be featured include Grindhouse – also known as Mondo Cane (pictured) – who played a fine acoustic set at Music Club's launch party. The band includes Dominic Greensmith from Reef, as well as Ronnie Wood's son Jesse.

Little Axe also played a set, and is the first act to be offered by Music Club as a high-quality download. The driving force behind Little Axe is Skip McDonald, a legend of the Sugar Hill house band, and who played on early hip-hop classics like The Message and White Lines. Little Axe played a great set, a gospel-tinged blues/dub fusion with seismic basslines underpinning McDonald's acoustic blues stylings.

The new service also represents an alternative, artist-friendly way of distributing tracks. Music Club subscribers will get a diverse range of downloaded albums with artists selected by Peter Gabriel and his team at Real World. B&W will then exclusively offer the album as a high-quality download, but after two months the rights to the recordings will revert back to the artist, who may then exploit them in any way they wish.

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