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Death of classical (cont'd)

        Something folks might want to check out is the Feb/March issue of
Classical Pulse, the free monthly from Tower Records. It features a
surprisingly frank article about the "corporate murder of classical music"
and gives some interesting numbers and statistics about the downward trend
in revenue for mainstream classical, as well as popular, record labels. The
article sounds a loud note of praise for independent labels like Naxos,
Harmonia Mundi, and BIS, noting that these independents, among others, are
able to maintain simultaneous international release schedules - something
few major labels are able to do these days - as well as "issu[ing] more new
recordings (as opposed to reissues) on a monthly basis than any of the
majors." Naxos in particular gets special mention for their "consistent
artistic vision" and "sell it cheap" marketing philosophy, adding that
Naxos sells more CDs than any other classical label in the world and,
together with Sony's *Essential Classics* line, is the only label that has
had staying power to make it in the budget cd arena without compromising
production values or artist/repetoire. (Though the article highlights "high
quality reissues" as one of the joys of big-label classical music these
days, they don't mention Sony's now-complete GG series.)
        This was a remarkably honest article to appear in such a biased
corporate-dog magazine, and the issue also features "top critics" picks as
the best and worst classical releases of 1996, which is also well worth the
cover price (see opening sentence...)



"For centuries man lived in the belief that truth was slim and elusive and
that once he found it the troubles of mankind would be over. And here we
are in the closing decades of the 20th century, choking on truth."
-Ernest Becker