My good friends over at Sequenza21 are understandably elated at having pulled off the coup of hosting a Naxos blog written by company publicist Mark Berry.
Now I am a huge fan of Naxos, buy lots of their CDs, contribute occasionally to Sequenza21, and am generally delighted by the news. But can I just echo the words of the late and great Glenn Gould? - every silver lining has a cloud.
Yes, Naxos has been very supportive of living composers. But they are also one of the leading proponents of globalisation in the music supply chain. They have plays in CDs, DVDs, webradio, and even library lending of music. I was surprised that the media didn't put the spotlight on their role in the recent appointment of a new Music Director for the Baltimore Symphony, instead of endlessly revisiting the irrelevant gender of the successful candidate.
The error is made frequently (including on this blog) of categorising the 'corporate' RIAA prosecutors of file sharing kids such as Sony and Univeral as being big and ugly, and the so-called 'independent' labels as small and beautiful. The fact is any company that controls a significant part of the music supply chain holds a position of considerable power, and that includes Naxos, Hyperion et al. 'Independent' can be a clever marketing platform as well as a positive attribute. Judging by the recent BBC Radio 3 CD Review interview with their Managing Director Simon Perry Hyperion will be dining out on the alleged injustice of the Sawkins appeal result for the next decade, despite it being a decision of an English court of law, which presumably they recognised when they appealed.
Try listening to an audio sample on the Naxos website - you can't without registering on their global database. (Something which Mark Berry forgets to tell us in his first post about composer Sean Hickey). And it is by no means proven that the downward price spiral instigated by Naxos is of long term benefit. Super-budget CDs generate little revenue to support the speculative recording projects which are the lifeblood of many of the contemporary composers who lurk (and post) on Sequenza21.
So welcome to the blogosphere Naxos, and keep up your very fine work. The beauty of blogging is that it provides a forum for everyone's views.
Overgrown paths to Naxos include Music-like-water, Is recorded classical music too cheap?, and Now Naxos downloads from library web sites
And for Hyperion see Hyperion Records face 'catastrophic' damages bill , Paying the piper, In praise of .... Hyperion, and Peerless Portugese Polyphony.
And for some globalisation free music try A cure for Marin Alsop fatigue, Now Alpha shakes up web radio, Soli Deo Gloria and Mortal defeat for the mob in Paris.
Picture credit - Boston.com
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