The BBC's frost with the music business
* I have attempted to clarify several of these issues in recent pieces. What do the London Symphony Orchestra make from LSO Live? Less per player per year than they would from a half-day's work at Abbey Road. What has the BBC achieved with Beethoven downloads? Brand recognition for one of its orchestras, a huge web footprint, and a frost with the music business.
Best Norman Lebrecht *
But across the pond Anne Midgette seems to be living on another planet. Writing in Wednesday's New York Times about the demise of classical music web site Andante she sings the praises of the BBC downloads, and manages to up the claimed numbers from 1.3m to 1.5m to support her argument. Ms. Midgette does also sing the praises of music blogs, but she obviously reads the wrong ones.
The 'huge success' of the Beethoven dowloads, which span so well for the BBC and the New York Times, can be judged by this sad little epitaph on the Radio 3 Beethoven Experience web site: 'The Beethoven Symphonies downloads service has now finished. Thank you for your interest and feedback. There are currently no plans to make the Beethoven Symphony downloads available again in the future.'
And yet more bad news for the free downloaders as regular reader Berend de Boer reports: ' Anyone downloaded the Danish MP3's of Mozart's symphonies? The quality is horrible, it's almost all white noise, impossible to listen to it. It's an insult to the downloaders. Making white noise available for free downloads, what a coup.'
Now playing - vinyl LP of Mozart Symphony No. 35, K.385 'The Haffner', from the three LP set of the last six symphonies with Bruno Walter conducting the Columbia Symphony Orchestra which I wrote about recently. No sampling rate 'glass ceiling', a joined-up royalty stream, wonderful warm sound and exquisite music making - bliss. Although these recordings have made it onto CD sadly the sleeve design didn't, presumably because it wouldn't have worked under a five inch square piece of plastic. (Did the art of record sleeve design die with the advent of the CD, or did ECM kill it?) So above, to finish a thoroughly self-indulgent article (it is Friday), is a photograph of my lovely 12" square LP box from 1974.
Norman Lebrecht (right) publishes a weekly column in the London Evening Standard and at La Scena Musicale, and his new book, which is a survey of the classical record industry no less, will be published at the end of the year.
Image credits - frosty Beethoven from BBC Radio 3, Bruno Walter Mozart box from On An Overgrown Path, and Norman Lebrecht from Normanlebrecht.com. Image owners - if you do not want your picture used in this article please contact me and it will be removed. Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk
If you enjoyed this post take An Overgrown Path to Is classical music too cheap? and Download doomsayer