ClassicalTV.com Launches Performing Arts Live Online – Unprecedented pay-per-view and free access to classical and other performances from all over the world has been made possible for the past three months. Classical TV offers a library of full-length videos of opera, ballet, concerts, drama, jazz, pop and documentaries for streaming online to computers and home entertainment systems. As an introductory offer, free streaming of the 2009 Salzburg Festival Opening Gala is available for a limited time, and over 250 hours of performances are available for free streaming. Special events from the world’s great concert halls, theaters and opera houses are $4.99 or $9.99 for a 72-hour pass.
Over 1200 hours of material have already been acquired by Classical TV, including archive videos that have rarely been seen previously. Stages such as the Metropolitan Opera House, St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theater, and the Chatelet Theatre, Paris, are featured. In addition to some of the great performers of the past, current season works such as John Adams’ Doctor Atomic opera are also provided in hi-def streams, and additions are made at least weekly. Never before has this material been so widely available, on-demand, to worldwide audiences, and at little or no cost. Two other free streaming presentations are coming up: Best of Montreux: Three Legends, from August 13-16, and The Duets: The Best of Pavarotti and Friends, Sept. 3-7. Classical entrepreneur and founder Chris Hunt says “There is a wealth of terrific opera, ballet and concerts that have been filmed but are inaccessible to most people… Classical TV uses new-media technology to fulfill the age-old promise of the arts for everybody.”
HDtracks.com Expands Music Downloads – One of the leading music download sites specializing in hi-res audio quality at CD standards and above – 88K, 96K, 176K & 192K – announces several additions to their wide variety of genre downloads. The site, founded by multi-Grammy-nominated composer David Chesky and his brother Norman, offers downloads from a variety of labels using the best technology available. HDtracks now has an extensive library of 20th century classical music, has signed the prestigious classical label Harmonia mundi, and offers the New York Philharmonic’s recent recordings of the Mahler symphonies conducted by Lorin Maazel. They are also offering a free download sampler titled “Jazz & Blues Experience.”
Performers Avoiding the Major Music Groups – With the structure of the music business changing radically, many artists are creating new ways to make and market their music without ever signing a traditional recording contract with one of the biggies. The major labels – Sony, Warner, EMI and Universal – no longer have a firm grip on creating and selling music and making hits with prime placement on radio. Artists realize that going back to the old model doesn’t make sense for them any more. The Internet has changed the way music is promoted and distributed. Sales of physical albums on CD have fallen 20%, which sales of individual digital tracks online rose 27%. There are now many artist-owned labels doing everything themselves and realizing a larger share of their revenue. They also maintain ownership of their own copyrights and masters, meaning they and their heirs can keep earning money from their music. Major labels are starting to drop artists who only sell 80,000 or 100,000 units, but that can be very good business for an artist who controls it all himself. The manager of the band Radiohead has created a venture called Polyphonic, which invests a few hundred thousand in new and rising artists without major label deals and helps them create their own direct links to audiences via the Internet. Bands taking this route have to be prepared to work harder and have considerable entrepreneurial energy, doing things like talking to fans after concerts, signing T-shirts, etc. The musicians and their business managers will get guidance from Polyphonic and assistance with their online presence.