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[ARSCLIST] Musican's compensation, wa CD versus Download was "All hail the analogue revolution..."

On Wed, 4 Oct 2006, Bob Olhsson wrote:

> Mike Richter wrote:
> >Certainly that business model benefits classical music. It provides
> >income for capable musicians who would otherwise have no exposure. It
> >provides excellent performances for collectors who are not concerned
> >about the difference in sound between a Steinway and a Bechstein.
> It provides NO income for the musicians and only the possibility of "exposure" for
the organization and the conductor. Collectors in most (but not all) cases can get
higher quality performances for the same money elsewhere. It benefits Naxos because
it's much easier to get a new recording reviewed than a reissue. It benefits film
makers because no residuals are payable to the musicians if they license from Naxos.

Yes, it does not supply income in most instances. Yes, many of the
recognized great performances of standard repertoire can be acquired for
less money...not only at suggested retail but through places like the
Berkshire Record Outlet.

However, for me, the great benefit is the previously unrecorded repertoire
that appears on Naxos and their other label Marco Polo.

Consider all of those young rock and roll musicians
who put their recordings up on the web and allow free downloads, just to
let people hear their music...and so they might be able to develop a
following and get gigs. Does the lack of payment for those free downloads
discourage them from playing and making those recordings available?

> Sorry, it's the musicians who are carrying the entire burden of the lower prices.
This only encourages the next generation of young musicians to not take up music as
their profession.

Yes, the musicians carry the burden of the lower prices. Musicians also
carry the burden for there being recorded sound, film soundtracks,
electronic music, etc.

As a music teacher in higher education I
always told my students that if they thought they could expect a fair
monetary return for the investment they devoted to their music education
they would be in for a rude awakening. Those words of warning never
deterred those who were dedicated to their art. It never stopped me. From
my experience, it is almost you don't choose the arts, it chooses you.

I have a long list of musicians who would like to record for my label.
They don't expect any payment other than 50-100 promo copies of their
disc. No doubt you are probably aware that several labels, not what I
would call vanity labels, ask the musicians for as much as $6,000 in
addition to supplying their recording to get it released. Plus they
have to pay for their "promo" copies.

The recording is not the revenue source for them, it is
the publicity and professional recognition that matters. These musicians
aren't hacks either, some of them are superb players who could easily,
with the right management and promotion, become far better known.

I am reminded of the history of recording. In the very old days a company
would have a tune it wanted recorded and then hire someone to
perform/record that tune. Eventually, in popular music in particular,
musicians chose their own material. In classical music there
has always been something of a balance, as conductors and orchestras
didn't always get to record what they wanted. These days, if you and your
orchestra want to record something of your own choosing, you might even
find it difficult to find a label that is willing to release it, even if
your orchestra pays for the recording process. While the New York Phil isn't likely
to come to my door with a set a Beethoven Symphonies, I wouldn't be
interested, unless, of course, if they chose me as the conductor...but
then I wouldn't want to spend my time doing Beethoven.

So, from my perspective, I happen to have some projects I want recorded,
mostly music by American Composers. Why? Because I value the music and
think it should be heard. So, what do I do? My label doesn't have the
money to hire the Chicago Symphony to record the Symphonies of EB Hill (a
project I hope to do one day). Maybe I can find some young
conductor who is trying to make a name for him or herself and he can raise
the money to hire some out of work orchestra from the former Soviet Union to make
the recording. Or, I can spend two years applying to a bunch of
foundations to fund the recording. I don't have the time.

So, if I can produce it, I will end up selling, at best, a thousand or so
copies. My label has no staff, I do all of the work for free, layout, editing,
mastering etc. My wife maintains the accounts. Does this lack of money concern
me...sure, but it doesn't keep me from doing what I do. Maybe I am stupid,
but I feel lucky to be able to do what I am doing?

None of us do it for the money, we just hope we can keep eating and have
shelter. Does it benefit classical music? I like to think it does.
Is Klaus Heymann getting rich by all of this...I don't know, but as a
musician, and a record collector, I am glad he is doing what he is doing,
for I sincerely believe that we wouldn't have much classical music being
recorded were it not for the business models he has introduced.

Does the proliferation of his releases make other recordings by fully paid
musicians fiscally unrewarding...possibly so, but I believe it is
important to remember that US orchestras were not recording very much
long before his business model was in place.

Yes, I agree that musicians deserve to be paid for the talents and
preparation they bring to their work, but I also believe that teachers
should be similarly compensated...and for their contribution to
society...yet they are not. Does that deter great minds from becoming
teachers...maybe...but I wonder if it deters great teachers from becoming


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