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Re: Death of classical (cont'd)
At 10:45 PM 3/22/97 -0500, Kristen Immoor wrote:
> 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,
There's a _very_ interesting interview with the owner of Naxos in this
month Fanfare. He makes the following points:
1) classical music isn't dead. $100,000 a cd recording sessions of
standard catalog material with US orchestras are dead, and huge prepayments
are dying and must die.
2) he thinks the majors have screwed themselves by offerring their greatest
assets--their catalog of top-notch old performance--at mid-price, while
asking people to pay full price for the mediocre--the new releases.
3) labels with interesting catalogs aren't dying--Hyperion, cpo, Naxos, etc.
4) For all the talk of the death of classical music, Naxos sold 20,000
copies of Boulez' s piano sonatas. Think of the number of major label
piano releases that sell a thousand copies and he can sell twenty thousand
cds of Boulez.
5) the number of collectors is dwindling, and companies must get young
people to buy classical music. One example is that he's started a punk
label with his son. In Sweden they are having a great deal of success
selling to young people. The punk bands like classical music, they are
putting racks of Naxos cds in punk record stores, and selling a lot of discs.
6) there just won't be unsubsidized recordings by US orchestras b/c of
union mandatory fees. The cost of recording almost any US orchestra is
prohibitive given the small number of records the major labels are able to
sell. (Think about it...$100,000 to records a symphonic cd, which will
sell 1500 copies at a wholesale price of $10. $100,000 spent just on
recording to sell $15,000 worth of cds. Naxos, on the other hand, will
spend $5000 recording Boulez's sonatas and sell 20,000 copies at $3.50
wholesale, or $70,000 worth.)
7) for all the bull written when cds first came out that companies would
only record the standards and you would no longer see recordings of new or
undiscovered works, the cd became the great equalizer. With vinyl cheap
recordings sounded cheap b/c good pressing were expensive and a good
recording required a soundtruck full of staff and equipment. Cds, on the
other hand, present no pressing issues, so a budget label's cds are of
equal quality as the majors (referring to the pressing quality of the
cds...anyone with Vox vinyl knows what I'm talking about). And the digital
recording equipment is much cheaper and smaller, so again a budget label
can use the same equipment a major label would be using.
8) Naxos is one the largest producers of cds in the world, so they get the
best rates from the companies that produce the cds.