The Internet Is Good For Classical Music

from the mozart.com dept

Back in 2005, the BBC made all nine of Beethoven’s symphonies available for free download — a move that made classical record label executives absolutely livid. We thought that their fear was short sighted, considering that the BBC was helping the classical music genre gain millions of listeners for free. A few years have passed now, and it looks like those record executives may finally be realizing that the Internet is, in fact, good for them. The classical music industry, struggling prior to 2000, is now on a huge rebound due largely to the Internet. Classical music labels are seeing record sales this year, now that the Internet allows music buyers access to their complete libraries of music, which would be completely impractical in a brick-and-mortar store. Classical music benefits more from the “long tail” since not only are there centuries of music from which to draw — each piece is likely to have multiple recordings, resulting in a vast catalog. Furthermore, the Internet affords users with much richer music discovery process — through blogs, YouTube, and sites like Michael Tilson Thomas’ Keeping Score, where the San Francisco conductor leads a series of educational broadcasts, intended to educate listeners about classical music. It’s nice to see that after initially being freaked out by change, the classical music world is now embracing these new technologies — in the end, everyone benefits, listeners gain access to more music, and musicians and composers are able to expose their music to more people, oh, and yes, the labels do end up building a better business.

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Comments on “The Internet Is Good For Classical Music”

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12 Comments
Overcast says:

The last CD I bought was classical, lol

And I’ve downloaded tons of Free classical too – sorry, most of it’s public domain – has been for the last 200+ years :O

While I may have classical music already, the fact of what I have to listen to, doesn’t really impact my desire to own a CD of particular music. That’s irrelevant. Music has been ‘free’ on the radio for a long time, never changed my buying habits. Actually, the only thing that has impacted my buying habits is the WHINING of the music industry.

Matthew Lasar (profile) says:

Internet is good for classical music

Classical music can only go up in this world. I remember when there were serious classical radio stations, as opposed to the EZ listening versions we get today.

Thank goodness for China and Japan, producing all those wonderful young classical musicians. And hooray for the Internet! I listen to tons of great performances on YouTube. What’s wrong with that?

James Higgs says:

Not so good...

Hmm. Maybe I’m out of touch, but that’s not been my perception. Given that the biggest classical label by far is Universal (Philips, DG, Decca) and all the other decent labels are owned by corporate megaliths (Sony for example) not much has changed. Of course it *is* better if you want Naxos-style I-don’t-care-who-the-conductor-or-orchestra-is stuff. But then, I was never a customer for that stuff even when it was on CD.

I think that classical is even more screwed than rock etc because it actually does cost a fortune to make a recording of a symphony – at least 4 days in a hall converted into a studio with 100 musicians. Garage Band doesn’t work for classical. And live recordings are OK, but when you’ve got hundreds of recordings of Beethoven 9th in the catalogue, who’s going to pay up for new studio version? Only absolutely stellar artists ever make recordings of big symphonies now. It’s a great shame, because we should be recording *everything* that artists like Abbado and Boulez do while we have the chance. Especially when you consider the half-wits who had massive recording contracts in the 80s and early 90s.

There were some very interesting ideas a few years ago, particularly from andante.com – they launched a beautiful range of live recordings given their first outings on CD in luxury packaging with insightful essays and rare photography, plus a half decent website. But they haven’t got it right since the iPod.

eBay is the place to be if you’re a classical collector.

Mike says:

I started downloading classical off the Internet,

It’s great that classical music is available on the Internet, but my introduction back to classical was a little roundabout.

I had downloaded a Japanese TV drama called “Nodame Cantabille” that featured lots of classical music, and after a while, I started to like it more and more, and started going out to the Internet to find classical music to download.

Frank says:

Since I am a kid I has been listening almost exclusively to classical because this is where I started with music. Once you are used to measure thing to the music of composers such as beethoven you become extremly selective.

Once the marketing BS of the four majors is gone the best comme back at the top: Classical!

Concerning the RIAA members such as Sony/BMG, Decca, Philips and Universals I boycott all of them since they started the law suit against web site operators and internet userS. My boycott is to death. Their death!

Does it mean that I don’t buy music? not So! I now buy music from indies. It is most of the time a lot shiper (Half Price) and it sound great in most case. Look at Naxos for exemple. They have already a pretty large catalog with a lot of top quality recording in CD of course but also in DVD audio and ASACD format the sound way better than a regular CD. The smoothness of an LP without the distrotion and background noises plus the dynamic of a CD. Most of these recording are awasome!

Also some orchestra are now selling their recording by themselves. An exemple is the Phyladelphia symphonic orchestra that have a web site were you can ever download for free some MP3. But you can also buy the full resolution CD quality recording with lossless compression.

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