Most music download stores focus on the top 40 most popular tracks and target the youth market. Passionato.com is focusing on classical music and is trying to offer content that is of better quality than other stores.
The service does not use DRM which will make it more popular as you can move the content between your computer and portable music player at will. Two download formats are used, MP3 at 320Kbps and the lossless FLAC format (not all tracks are available in FLAC format), though check what your music player will support prior to purchase. To get people to register for the site the service which has just launched is offering 10 free downloads. An MP3 track is priced at around 99p with the FLAC files costing roughly double.
The BBC has been talking to the person behind Passionato, James Glicker, who reveals that the service has launched in the UK due to the vibrant classical music scene, and the investment available from groups such as the Creative Capital Fund.
The site appears to be hosted in the United States, so hopefully transatlantic bandwidth will not prove a bottleneck for when people are downloading content, or simply accessing the site as the frontpage is 0.7MB in size.