Universal stabs iTunes, launches ‘Lost Tunes’

Universal Music has today introduced its own cross-platform music download service, offering rare tracks at near lossless quality – and has called the service ‘LostTunes’, in an indirect stab at Apple’s iTunes service,

Available online at Lost Tunes, Universal describes the service as a “groundbreaking online download store dedicated to exclusives, rarities and overlooked classics”.

Lost Tunes is a major project for Universal Music which began just over a year ago, with a dedicated team and have been searching through the Universal Music archives for forgotten gems.

Azi Eftekhari, Head of Digital and Media for Universal Music Catalogue commented: “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.  We only include music that we love.”

The service has launched with 134 albums which are available exclusively through Lost Tunes. Universal believes the rare music service will usher in a ‘new era’ in the sale of back catalogue material.

The initial batch of digital-download exclusives include The Walker Brothers’ ‘Live In Japan’, three albums by the hugely acclaimed Comsat Angels, Bill Fay’s eponymous album, UK blues Nine Below Zero, Mellow Candle and Oriental Sunshine to name but a few.
 
To mark the launch, Fiction Records’ Delays are recording their four favourite ‘lost tunes’ to be released exclusively for Lost Tunes on Monday 1st September. This will coincide with the release of a new collection of previously-unreleased material from The La’s – eight rare recordings including the John Leckie and Steve Lilywhite mixes of ‘Come In Out Come Out’ and John Leckie and the Bob Andrew mix of ‘Way Out’.
 
A further 500 exclusive download albums are scheduled to be launched on the store in the coming six months, including never-before-released gems from the Trojan, Fiction and Decca archives to name but a few.
 
All downloads are sold as high-quality 320kpbs MP3s, meaning the tracks will work on Macs, PCs, iPods, MP3 players and many mobile phones.

The site also features albums and overlooked gems from a variety of artists, including Joni Mitchell, Scott Walker, Marianne Faithfull and The White Noise. A breadth of labels are represented on the site, ranging from rarities and digital exclusives from Prestige, Verve and Impulse to must-haves from A&M, Motown, Stax and Vertigo.
 
The site offers in-depth editorial and product descriptions, a smart search feature and the division of music into highly specific sub-genres, ranging from Progressive Rock to Electronica to Dub to Jazz Fusion to World to Spokenword.
 
Lost Tunes is powered by UK operator, 7 Digital. International versions of the site will launch in the coming months.

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