Today, Sony launched Ariama, their classical-music-only answer to iTunes. Similar to CDbaby, Ariama allows you choose a digital download or a physical cd. Where is gets interesting is in the bit-rate. Digital music requires compression of the file to shrink the audio file. Audiophiles have long hated MP3’s and M4a codecs. Ariama allows for a best in industry 320kbps (compared to iTunes’ 256k and CDBaby’s 18skbps). This means Ariama’s downloads will sound better than both iTunes and CDBaby downloads. In addition to the 320kbps option, Ariama allows provides an FLAC lossless codec. This is high fidelity, cd-quality audio. This option is a $2.00 premium, but it is well worth it, especially if you use high end headphones or speakers. The FLAC files will quickly eat up your hard drive and flash memory, however.
In addition to audio quality, Ariama’s pricing is better than either iTunes or CDBaby. Check it out!