Two Paths To Digital Audio Bliss?

It's a brave new audio world: Coinciding with last week's release of Medeski, Martin & Wood's latest work, The Dropper, to retailers' shelves as a polycarbonate-and-aluminum CD, Liquid Audio announced that the title was simultaneously being made available as a full-album digital download. Liquid reports that this is the first time a Blue Note title has been released in a digital format at the same time as its physical release.

Liquid says that fans with access to the Internet can purchase The Dropper online for $15.99 by visiting any of the 900 participating retail Web sites in the Liquid Music Network. Using the company's free Liquid Player, consumers can then preview tracks, read lyrics and liner notes, view album art, and download music straight onto their computers. The company adds that customers purchasing the album will be able to transfer the tracks onto a CD-R and export them to portable devices.

Liquid's Charly Prevost says that "Blue Note Records is taking a big step forward in terms of digital distribution, by releasing a new title in digital format on the same day as its physical release. This is another example of how record labels have begun to treat digital downloads as simply another format to reach consumers."

Blue Note Records' John Dalton adds that "Blue Note is fully committed to making our artists' music available to their online fans in a secure, easy manner. Medeski, Martin & Wood have expressed a strong desire to reach their fan base through online distribution and The Dropper will be the first of several upcoming releases from Blue Note that will be available as part of EMI's digital download initiative."