Music Download Info

Webcasts, M4A and MP3 Formats


  • If you can play our audio samples, you’ll be able to listen to our Webcasts. The technology and quality is identical.
  • Purchasing a download in Webcast format will allow you to listen to it for thirty days from your computer.
  • These files will be available on our Webcasts page, when you are logged in to your account.
  • Once you purchase a file in Webcast format, you will be able to listen to it by logging in to your account and clicking the Webcast link, where your purchased titles will be listed.
  • Our opera Webcasts stream at 192k.
  • In addition to our purchaseable Webcasts, we also offer some selected opera Webcasts free to all registered customers.

Our opera and other audio downloads are available in both .m4a and .mp3 formats, encoded at a high bitrate (256 kbps) for the best-quality sound we could find at a reasonable size for a download. These files are of suitable quality to be burned to a CD, and will play on computers and digital audio players (such as iPod). iTunes (available free for both Macintosh and Windows) and many other free programs can play .m4a and .mp3 files and burn CDs from them.

At 256K, Bel Canto Society recommends the fidelity and nuance of audio in .M4A format, yet our customers requested that we offer a choice, so we offer excellent-quality 256K MP3 files as well. **

NEW: We are adding 320K MP3 files to all new downloads in the store. These files are significantly larger (and even higher quality) than our excellent 256K MP3s. We offer them for those for whom this extra quality is important and disk space is not an issue (the files are about 25 percent larger).

We recommend that you make sure that you can play this sample M4A file before purchasing an .M4A download.* All modern computers can play .MP3 files.

A comparison: Single albums sell for $9.99 in the iTunes Music store, double-albums (like the ones we are selling) sell for about $20 (or more); and the audio quality of ours is significantly better: twice the bitrate!

Once you complete your purchase you will be able to download your file(s). The link to your files will be on the order-success page and also available within your account’s “order-history” section in the store. Please be patient as your file downloads–it may be quite large.


You will be able to download your files five times (in case your download is interrupted). Your download links will expire in ten days. Once you have downloaded your files, they are yours to keep and enjoy however you please–on CD, on your computer, on your iPod, in your car….

The music or audio files are contained within a “.zip” file. In almost all cases, simply double-clicking the .zip file will unarchive it.

Except where noted, our downloads are broken into individual tracks by aria. Set your software to “gapless playback” of our audio files to avoid silences between tracks. (This feature is active in iTunes by default.) When burning to CD, make sure you have no added silences between tracks.

We hope you enjoy your purchase!


* When clicking on the sample .m4a link, the file will automatically download to your computer; check your download folder for the sample.

** 256 kbps L.A.M.E. encoded MP3 files: “As of 2004, the consensus is that LAME produces the highest-quality MP3 files for bitrates greater or equal to 128 kbit/s.” See here for more information. In order to conserve bandwidth and stream smoothly, our sample selections are encoded at 192Kbps MP3; our actual downloads are encoded at 256Kbps M4A or MP3 which offers significantly better quality and nuance.

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