Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Decca launches classical godcasts
Decca has taken social media to new heights with an online prayer facility on their website for the Christmas CD from the nuns of Notre-Dame de l'Annonciation. Sadly divine petition seems to have failed* as Voices - Chant from Avignon was beaten to the UK Christmas number one spot by André Rieu's Forever Vienna. Will we see Chant Against the Machine released for Christmas 2011? More on the backstory of the nuns' CD here.
* As happens many times, this light-hearted post led to more serious matters. When I started writing it on Dec 21 I spent a lot of time trying to find out which CD was number one in the UK classical specialist chart for the week ending December 18. First I listened to the BBC Radio 3 chart programme on iPlayer, for which I expect many accumulated merits. But to no avail, just a few specific chart CDs were featured and overall chart positions were not given. I then followed the Radio 3 link to the Gramophone chart page which was a week out of date, and remains so as I upload on Dec 22. Finally a visit to the source of the charts found a UK specialist classical chart dated Dec 18. Which presumably is the definitive version. Or is it? My cross-check shows positions in it differ from those given on Radio 3 on Dec 21. So if my facts in this post are wrong I offer this explanation but no apology.
Forget about the difficulties this shambles presents to that increasingly rare animal, the writer who wants to check their facts. Classical charts have become yet another discarded plaything of the self-appointed saviours of classical music. I remain open-minded about if and how classical music should reinvent itself. But increasingly it seems the mass market fallacy holds the key.
Classical music has become like an obese person whose very longevity is threatened by their corpulence. Snake oils, miracle cures, online prayers and the other ministrations of mass marketers do not work, as my dalliance with Google Trends shows. Classical music needs a crash diet to rid itself of the toxins that are poisoning its system. That will be very painful for everyone, but it may be the only way forward.
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