Saturday, April 09, 2005

More on musician run record labels......

Example

I have written several posts about the trend (stampede?) to musician run record labels such as MaxOpus and SDG (and of course the San Francisco Symphony with their Mahler project), and also see Dog eats dog for an interesting take on the trend. (Incidentally there is nothing new in the classical music world. I've just been re-reading Peter Ostwald's flawed 'psycho-biography of Glen Gould. It tells of how towards the end of his career Gould considered setting up his own record label, largely because Columbia were becoming increasingly frustrated with his eccentric behaviour).

There is an interesting insight in today's Guardian (follow this link for the full article) into the business model for musician run labels such as LSO Live. In an article about the departure of the LSO's Managing Director Clive Gillinson the Guardian's Arts correspondent Charlotte Higgins - " Currently LSO players make £400 (720 US dollars) per year from the profit share from own label CD's."

It is a fact that business models are only sustainable when value is genuinely added long term. There is no doubt that Colin Davis' Berlioz and Bernard Haitink's Brahms give fantastic value to the end buyer with their £4.99 (9 US dollars) retail price. But aren't musician run record labels simply re-balancing value by taking it away from the rank and file players who are a vitally important part of these great performances and recordings?
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