Classical music must face the facts - click bait pays

Above are the latest accounts for SlippedDisc Limited, which has Norman Lebrecht as a director*. These accounts show that the profit and loss account surplus** increased in fiscal 2020 to £203,719, an increase of 41% over the previous year***. To put that £203,719 trading surplus into context, the average salary for a Metropolitan Opera musician converted into sterling is £138,990, that of BBC Radio 3 Controller Alan Davey is £182,000, and Boris Johnson earns £161,401.

Let's be clear at this point: the filed accounts fully comply with the requirements of Companies House and are in the public domain, and Norman runs a legitimate business. This post is not being driven by malice or sour grapes. On An Overgrown Path has never had commercial aspirations: I was well rewarded during my career in the music industry and I am very fortunate to have adequate pension provisions. This post is driven, like so many on my blog, by context and facts. 

Regular readers know that, to put it mildly, I don't like Norman's style of journalism. But I have to grudgingly admire what he has achieved. He has gained the support of virtually every classical music institution, he has built a large audience for Slipped Disc, and his eponymous company has achieved financial security. The key strategic goals of every classical music institution are to build a large audience and achieve financial security. So the obvious conclusion is that the Slipped Disc business model is the one which the classical music industry will emulate in the future to achieve its two overriding strategic goals. Am I the only person who finds that deeply depressing?     
* Accounts were filed on Feb 19 2021 at Companies House.  The nature of business of SlippedDisc Ltd is identified as 'Other publishing activities
** Profit and loss account surplus is defined as total assets less current liabilities.
** The main driver of the increased trading surplus is a large increase (+£107733) in debtors. A note in the accounts identifies almost all of the outstanding debtors as 'Amounts owed by group undertakings' - i.e.from connected companies. The filed accounts  for the connected company Lebrecht Investments Ltd show a creditor figure of £111,816 identified as 'Amounts owed to other group undertakings'. Which is perfectly legitimate accounting practice. At Companies House the nature of business of Lebrecht Investments Ltd is stated as 'Activities of other holding companies not identified elsewhere'. 
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it apparently also pays to take down Stravinsky as "not that great" just about nine months after foaming at the moth when Phil Ewell suggested we think of Beethoven as an above average composer and leave it at that. Apparently what's wrong for Ewell to do is fine for Lebrecht but even if Lebrecht's attempting some kind of Swiftian satire the double standard's hard to escape.

Pliable said…
Quite so WtH - as my headline explains click bait pays.
DLW said…
Whatever one thinks of Lebrecht and Slipped Disc (and frankly 200k - nearly half of which is receivables - doesn't seem an inordinate amount of assets for a site with the readership of his), I find it bizarre that UK law apparently requires a private limited company (one as far as I can tell owned and operated by a single man - though he may employ an assistant or two) should have to file such detailed financial information for public review to anyone at all who wants to see it.

I've owned and operated personal LLCs myself, and known many others who do, all would be appalled at the idea of having to submit annual bank balances for full public review to just anyone who wants to have a look (Legitimate accounting to tax authorities is another matter - but even they can't simply release your personal info to every random public looky-loo in the world!).
DLW, that is a bit different than how things are in the US, to be sure.

As if to prove that he's working with double standards Lebrecht just posted about Ewell again as being on the warpath.

Let the one who has never intentionally trafficked in clickbait journalism cast the first stone, Norman. :)
Pliable said…
Thanks for highlighting that WtH. DLW seems to have missed the point of my post. It was not to suggest that £203,391 trading surplus is excessive, or to extol the virtues of UK accounting transparency. It was to point out that as the headline states and your example confirms, classical music must face the facts - click bait pays
LondonRobert said…
I would regard myself as a hard core opera goer. So, I'm interested in news about operas and the opera world. Where can I get information about opera which is not just a review of a performance, important as this is to me. I subscribe to Opera magazine but it rarely covers what is happening in the opera world, what is 'now', rather than what has happened in the past or future performances / reviews of past performances.

The blogger Intermezzo used to run an informative and witty opera blog but she has been quiet for years. So, everyday, I usually log onto NL website.

Am I a fan? Absolutely not. I don't agree with his general politics which are often very visible in his postings, I don't want to know about some rape / murder / funny business just because the victim / perpetrator has a classical music connection.

He delibrately provokes his right wing readers through how he reports and what issues he reports on and, as you have noted in the past, has got it so wrong to the extent that he has had to pay libel damages.

So, I hold my nose and read his website despite my clicks adding to his number and potentially his income.
Oliver said…
The accounts don't show the SD made a profit of £203,619. The P&L account on the balance sheet is a cumulative account. The equivalent figure in 2019 was £143,978, so the balance sheet is telling you that SD made a profit in 2020 of £59,741 (= £203,619 - £143,978). Not bad, but hardly earth-shattering.
Pliable said…
Oliver, the post does not say, as you claim, that the accounts "show the SD made a profit of £203,619".

The post clearly states "the profit and loss account surplus** increased in fiscal 2020 to £203,719" and the double asterix leads to the further explanation that "Profit and loss account surplus is defined as total assets less current liabilities".

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