"High-Def" music service announced

MusicGiants, a privately funded company, today announced a new music download service that wants to find its place in the market by offering higher-quality music tracks than what is available from other services such as iTunes and Napster. Digital audio files are offered in WMA "lossless" encoding, representing bit rates ranging from 470 to 1100 kbps. Traditional music download services sell tracks in 128 to 256 kbps quality.

The music catalog should be fairly complete as far as popular music is concerned. MusicGiants said that it has licensed its "hundreds of thousands" of titles from EMI Music, Sony BMG, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. The step-up in quality does not come for free. MusicGiants requires users to pay an annual $50 fee upfront, which is credited towards music purchases. Instead of the common $0.99 per track, MusicGiants charges $1.29 for each file, a 30 percent price hike that may be justifiable for some users because of the higher audio quality of the content.