Audio News for May 10, 2006

by | May 10, 2006 | Audio News | 0 comments

Astonishing Response to BBC’s Beethoven Symphonies Free Downloads – On May 6 BBC Radio 3 began offering free MP3 downloads of Beethoven’s first five symphonies in live performances by the Manchester BBC Philharmonic conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. In one week 600,000 downloads were made.  BBC 3 spokesmen said “This trial was all about gauging listeners’ appetite for downloads and the results are astonishing…we hope this will encourage new audiences to explore online classical music.” The remaining four symphonies will be offered starting May 27.

The huge success of the downloads prompted loud complaints from the music industry, causing the BBC to announce that the free downloads they had planned for an upcoming Bach extravaganza  “will be nothing on the scale of the Beethoven.”  One listener wrote in to castigate the complaints of the recording industry as shortsighted and selfish, saying that it obviously assumes without any evidence that downloads of classical music deleteriously affect sales from commercial entities. On the contrary the listener felt it likely that by promoting access, exposure and interest in classical music, such schemes in the long run increase the demand and interest in the works, as well as in those who perform them.

Julian Lloyd Webber on the Dearth of Classical on iTunes – Noted cellist Julian Lloyd Webber was persuaded by his iPod-using son to try downloads instead of carrying with him dozens of CDs from publishers and composers when he had long plane flights. He said, “Show me!” They installed iTunes on his PC and started. He entered Jacqueline du Pré. Nothing. Then Paul Tortelier. Still nothing. He finally found the Elgar Cello Concerto on Naxos – at 99 cents per track for 11 tracks it cost twice as much as buying the CD in a store. Bemoaned Webber: “He can hardly expect me to throw out my CDs just yet.”

Koch Distributors Adds Labels – Koch Entertainment Distribution has announced it has a new exclusive distribution deal with Netherlands-based Brilliant Classics – the world’s largest classical budget label (including SACDs we have reviewed here at Audiophile Audition). A DVD, CD and book series from successful PBS TV shows is also part of the company’s offerings.  At the same time, Koch also announced an exclusive distribution deal with UK classical label Explore Records. The new label aims to explore existing recordings of rare and unusual repertory which have not been available internationally on CD or which were only available for a limited time on CD in the past. The label’s initial launch consists of 15 titles drawn from the Decca catalog and exploring sought-after recordings spanning over 400 years of Western music.  Future releases will cross genres to embrace jazz and world music rarities.

Related Reviews
Logo Pure Pleasure
Logo Apollo's Fire
Logo Crystal Records Sidebar 300 ms
Logo Jazz Detective Deep Digs Animated 01
La Clave – Acoustic Sounds

La Clave – Acoustic Sounds

Verve/Universal Music Group releases a re-mastered vinyl of an obscure, but highly entertaining 70’s album.