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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 July 2006, 12:55 GMT 13:55 UK
Universal overhauls CD packaging
U2 singer Bono
Music including U2's could be repackaged
The world's biggest record company is to sell CDs in basic cardboard sleeves in a bid to compete with online sales.

Universal Music Group is introducing three tiers of packaging in Europe, also including deluxe and sturdier versions of the standard case.

It expects the basic CDs to sell for about 7, the standard for about 10, and the deluxe - offering bonus CDs or DVDs - for around 14.

The company said the CD had not "had much of a revamp in the last 20 years".

Stimulating sales

"We thought we should reboot the consumer's experience of buying CDs," said Universal's executive vice president Max Hole.

He said the basic package was aimed at stimulating sales for older albums, "similar to a paperback book".

More than 26m songs were downloaded legally in the UK in 2005 - up from virtually zero two years earlier.

Universal Music Group expects its digital sales to double this year to about 10% of all sales, and predicts they will make up 25% of revenue by 2010.

The group is home to artists including U2, Mariah Carey and Elton John.

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