Universal Music launches Lost Tunes download store for “lost classics”


Universal Music has launched a new UK music download store called Lost Tunes (www.losttunes.com) which is dedicated to exclusive tracks, rarities, hard-to-find recordings and “overlooked classics” from the vast Universal catalogue.


An opening batch of 134 download albums will be available exclusively through the Lost Tunes site – including The Walker Brothers’ Live In Japan, three albums by British post punk band Comsat Angels, R&B favourites Nine Below Zero, and Bill Fay’s eponymous album.


Other initial selections include albums by Joni Mitchell, Scott Walker, Marianne Faithfull, The Flying Burrito Brothers, David Ruffin and Caravan.


A new collection of eight previously unavailable tracks by early 1990s Liverpool band The La’s will be available from September 1. The rare recordings include a John Leckie/Steve Lilywhite mix of ‘Come In Come Out’ and a John Leckie/Bob Andrew mix of ‘Way Out’.


A further 500 exclusive download albums are scheduled to be available from the store over the next six months, including never-before-released gems from the archives of the Trojan, Fiction and Decca labels.


In addition to classic rock and pop titles, the Lost Tunes store will also feature rare reggae, blues, and soul albums – and hard-to-find tracks from the Verve, A&M, Motown, Vertigo and Stax catalogues.


All of the downloads on the Lost Tunes site are available as 320kpbs MP3s, without digital rights protection. The tracks will work on any MP3-compatible fixed or portable device, including iPods, MP3 players and mobile phones.


According to Universal, the site is designed to help music fans rediscover old favorites and find new ones. It features a “smart search” facility, with music sorted into eight genres and 38 sub-genres ranging from progressive rock, electronica and jazz fusion, to world music and spoken word.


Universal insists Lost Tunes – dubbed “the home of rare music” – will not attempt to compete with larger services such as iTunes, but will cater for people looking for older and more obscure tracks.


“We wanted Lost Tunes to replicate the experience of going to a favourite local record shop where browsing and discovering music is a real pleasure and an adventure,” said Universal Music’s Azi Eftekhari.


Shopping at Lost Tunes won’t be cheap though. Individual tracks are priced at 99p, while albums cost anything from £5.99 upwards.


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