The initiative will soon expand to include the Decca imprint, "additional top-tier orchestras from the international cultural capitals," and other digital music stores, including Rhapsody and Napster.
Word of the unprecedented effort first came in January, when the New York Philharmonic announced that it had reached an agreement to release live recordings over the Internet through Universal. The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month that the Los Angeles Philharmonic would participate as well.
Initially, iTunes will offer a New York Philharmonic performance of Mozart's Symphonies Nos. 39, 40, and 41 from February, and a L.A. Philharmonic performance from the Minimalist Jukebox Festival, recorded just this past weekend, with music by Arvo P‹rt, Louis Andriessen, and Steve Reich.
Downloads of a single movement, an entire work, or an entire program will be available. According to Universal, a full program will cost the same as a "standard digital album," or $9.99.
Universal will release about four concerts by each participating orchestra by year. A single concert may be selected for release on CD.