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Re: [ARSCLIST] CD versus Download was "All hail the analogue revolution..."

On 29/09/06, Tom Fine wrote:

> I gotta ask a question that's probably asked regularly at the major
> label-owners -- how many different versions of a work can the public
> want? I don't mean Don Cox and a shrinking few rabid classical buyers.
> I mean a market that is mass enough to justify trodding anew over
> well-trodden ground.

The big labels tend to make the mistake of issuing full price discs of
new artists performing standard works. In most cases there are already
twenty better recordings available. But I guess there are sales to those
who have been to a live concert by that artist and want a souvenir.

The essential difference between classical music and almost all other
markets is that the performers are separate from the music. (This also
applies to plays by Shakespeare etc).

In rock and pop, by and large the performer is the focus, and most of
the material is composed by the performers. So one might buy a studio
recording and a live concert recording, and that is it. 

For a Beethoven sonata, or a Cole Porter song, each performer has
something different to tell you about the music, as each actor does
about Hamlet or Macbeth. Add to that the changes in performance styles
over the years, and it does make sense to own several versions of a
major work. 

Whether it makes sense to buy the latest offering by some young "star"
at full price, I doubt. 

I think the number of listeners to classical music is increasing, not
decreasing. Comparing an issue of The Gramophone from the 70s to a
current issue, there are far more releases, ten times as many labels,
and no shortage of excellent new recordings. After all, there is more
money around today than there was then.

> Hey, my sympathies are with you. It's the same with jazz -- aside from
> the fact that the genre has been hijacked to large extent by the
> "museum music" crowd.

I think jazz pretty well died when it became a genre. 

Don Cox

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