I had a look this morning at Passionato, which ought to be a really good idea: a site devoted to selling high-quality Classical music without DRM from the catalogues of respectable companies (DG, Decca, and so on). Unfortunately, this good idea has become an absolutely horrid web site. It hard to navigate and heavy with reproductions of album covers. There is no obvious way to find all recordings of any particular work, though typing “Lizst piano sonata” will find the piano sonata in B minor; it will also find the Dante sonata as the second hit, even though it is an entirely different work, because it has piano and sonata and Liszt in the text.
Obviously what they have done is to scan or transcribe a lot of covers. One effect of this is that there are lots of badly coded accents that come out as blotches. A much worse effect is that on CDs with numerous composers or works there is only a very confused indication of which work any track comes from and none at all of who is the composer. When the MP3s are finally downloaded they turn out not to be tagged with the composer, and both Martha Argerich and Alfred Brendel have been tagged as an artist called NULL.
For this service, they charge – so far as I can see – the full price that the CD would cost in the shops. One is saved the time taken to rip them, I suppose, but if I rip CDs myself, I get them more accurately tagged from FreeDB than Passionato can manage, and I have a backup, too. There is certainly no reason whatever to buy Naxos stuff from them, since the entire Naxos catalogue is already available from Emusic, for a lot less money.