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

On 02/10/06, Karl Miller wrote:
> On Fri, 29 Sep 2006, Bob Olhsson wrote:
> Speaking of Naxos...
>> True however my understanding of how they are managing to accomplish
>> this is
> somewhat akin to vanity publishing.
> True, but unlike true vanity publishing, Naxos has standards and is
> only looking for repertoire that interests them. While someone might
> go to a concert to hear their local orchestra play a Beethoven
> Symphony, I would be hard pressed to think that anyone other than a
> fan of their local symphony, or one who collects all of the recordings
> of a specific work, would be interested in standard repertoire played
> by that local orchestra.
> And the quality of playing on Naxos releases is generally quite high.

Some releases are as good as anything available. For example, Nigel
North's disc of lute music by Dowland (the first of a complete series -
Naxos are good at "complete series").

>> The orchestra has to finance the entire recording cost, Naxos
>> receives all
> rights for any licensing purpose and nobody gets paid any royalties
> ever. I understand Naxos sometimes helps locate foundation support for
> a particular recording however that's hardly the level of investment
> typical of a traditional label.
> The last time I inquired, the recording costs for the major orchestras
> in the US runs about $1,000 for a minute of usable material...a
> seventy minute CD can cost you about $70,000 for the use of the
> orchestra. Working by the old business models mean, if you have to pay
> union rates, you will lose money on just about any recording.

Naxos uses mainly orchestras from Eastern Europe (where Haydn, Liszt and
Chopin came from). Much cheaper.
> But indeed, those old days are almost completely gone. I am reminded
> of conversations I had with cellist Paul Olefsky. He was, for a time,
> first chair cello under Ormandy. He told me that the recording fees
> paid for his second cello. Gone are those days.
> As many know, in the old days, the classical recordings were financed
> by the sales of the popular music releases done by the same company.
> Also, at that time, a recording of standard repertoire done by the
> Philadelphia Orchestra, didn't have that much competition on the
> record shelves.
>> A bit of publicity is the only compensation the orchestra and
>> conductor receive and
> that only if the recording happens to get a good review. While
> publicity may appeal to amateur musicians, it's hardly a healthy
> stimulus to professional classical music.
> Certainly the new economic model isn't the same sort of stimulus, but
> I believe there are other perspectives to consider. For an orchestra
> it can provide a great sense of pride. I also have found that the
> recording process can help musicians improve their playing. Most of my
> recording work has been limited to chamber ensembles. When you bring
> them into the control room for some critical listening to their
> work...well, on more than one occasion I have seen an abrupt end to
> the first session...they will come back more fully prepared for the
> next session.
> And when they record previously unrecorded repertoire, they can be
> making a contribution to music history...assuming it something
> substantive.
> I also believe it can increase the visability of the town in which the
> orchestra resides...certainly not as much as a professional sports
> team can do, but...it sends a different message. I am reminded that
> when one thinks of Texas...there are things like the Dallas Cowboys,
> the Dallas and Houston Symphonies, the Houston Grand Opera and let's
> not forget that old TV show "Dallas." On the other hand we should note
> that Texas has the highest number (17) of the 100 poorest counties in
> the US, the second highest income gap between the richest and poorest
> family incomes and I believe is the state with the seventh lowest per
> capita income in the US. It seems interesting to me how one's
> perceptions can be based upon the most visable information.
> Karl
Don Cox

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