Gramophone player

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Gramophone player

Has the player gone the way of all things?  It hasn't been updated for the current issue, which has been out for some days now.

 

The playlist on Spotify has also not been updated (I am only an occasional user so am still on the free service).  

 

I can't use itunes (not being an Apple or Microsoft user), and whilst I use Qobuz for downloads, I don't want to subscribe for streaming.  If I really like something I pay for it and download it (from Qobuz or others).  That way I can carry it round with me (streaming on the move is flaky and expensive).

 

I fear I may even have to drop my Gramophone subscription soon.  £60pa basic is quite steep, and a 50% increase on last year with no discernible benefit for me. 

Gramopone Player

I agree Tim, with all that you say. I have decided that I will cancel my subscription if I now have to pay for samples to accompany the reviews. I have yet to be convinced that the new publisher has improved the magazine.

Gramophone Player

Thank you for your comments, we do appreciate all feedback, good or bad. Firstly, on the wider issue of the magazine and its changes over the past year, I'm pleased to report that most readers who have contacted me have responded warmly to such developments as our greater number of review pages (and longer reviews) and our overall increased focus on recordings. However, if you do have specific points to raise, I'd be really pleased to hear them - either here, or you can email me at martin.cullingford@markallengroup.com

 

On the specific matter of the Player, we'd originally launched it as replacement for the cover CD as a way for people to hear excerpts. However, in recent months, usage of it has substantially declined, presumably because so much music is now available to stream complete elsewhere. We're a small team so have to prioritise our time where we think it's of most use to our readers, and we're constantly looking at where that might be. Instead, we've created the following page to give you access to excerpts from some of the recordings. http://www.gramophone.co.uk/feature/gramophone-editor%E2%80%99s-choice-r...

 

Before we make a final decision on this though, I'd interested to have feedback from readers - who used the player, who didn't, and why (or why not?). I would however point out though that the Player was never part of a paid subscription to the magazine - it was free to all website users. 

 

Best wishes

Martin

Editor and Publisher, Gramophone

Gramophone Player

Thanks for responding.  Note that there's another thread on much the same topic under the 'site' heading.

 

I always used the player because it was simple to use, and got me straight to the heart of the editor's recommendations with one quick page selection on the web.  If you are a paper version reader you don't have 'links' to itunes/qobuz etc, so the player is much easier to use.

 

As it happens I have forgone the pleasure of paper (although I sometimes regret this).   However, I cannot use itunes and don't want to subcribe to other streaming services.

 

I will try the page you refer to and let you know how I get on with it.

 

I also do occasionally use free spotify (putting up with the ads since it is free), and will take a look at that again.  I see this month's list has just  been updated, although I get the impression it omits some recordings that spotify doesn't have.

 

Regards

Martin

Martin

I did use the Player, and found it an acceptable substitute for the old CD. But I used it with an iPad and an Apple TV to feed it into my hifi. I recognise that not everyone would wish to do that. I happen now to be a Qobuz subscriber, and have to report that the problem with them (much is marvellous), is that many classical labels are missing. Hyperion, Chandos, Linn, BIS, to name a few. I'm struggling to see how a purely Qobuz based service can properly replace the Player in these circumstances. If you have any influence with Qobuz, perhaps you can persuade them to offer sufficiently attractive deals to these labels to get them on board.

Regards

Paul Graber

Gramophone Player

Thank you Martin.

 

Your point about the Player being available to non-subscribers is a fair one, but this is a matter of perception of the value offered by the overall package. The facility to enjoy listening to a material extract from a recommended recording is no longer available unless one chooses to pay an additional subscription to your partner organisation. This was one of the main attractions of Gramophone. £5.50 cover price (or £60 a year) is quite a lot for a print only resource in my opinion.

 

I have reluctantly cancelled my subscription.

 

Regards

 

Adrian

It's hardly my job to defend

It's hardly my job to defend Gramophone against all criticism (and I've criticised them myself in the past), but I do wonder about some of the comments about value being made here. Yes, there have been some steep price rises recently, but on subscription the magazine is only a little above £4.50 per issue, which is pretty typical of current magazines. Yet Gramophone has far more editorial content than the average mag, is better written, and has access to an unparalleled panel of reviewers. Yes, it costs more than it did - but that doesn't make it bad value.

 

Commercial over!

With or without the player,

With or without the player, the magazine is great value for money: hours of absorbing reading of quality writing about a subject you love every month for barely the cost of a couple of pints.

Also the magazine has improved with the change of ownership and the changes it brought.

I only listened to the player briefly every month because I was able to gauge enough from the reviews on whether to buy a recording or not without needing to also listen to a snippet. However to sneakily  withdraw it (see how this happens on page 7 of the September and Awards issues) and have readers and subscribers left in the dark is wrong. It did feel like part of the package, having originally been trumpeted as a replacement for the cover CD. 

Graham 

 

And based on Martin's

And based on Martin's rationale for disbanding the player I wouldn't hold high hopes that this forum will last beyond the end of this year.

If you are there Parla, I hope you find lots of things to do with the free time this generates. 

Gramophone Player

I've done some tests, and report below.  However, the first issue is that the magazine itself does not mention the death of the Player, nor detail the alternatives.  Surely the customer comes first? Give us the information promptly and accurately.  I got very irritated trying to get the Player to update, not realising updates had stopped.

 

Now for a few tests.  Your Qobuz page first (is this mentioned anywhere else?).  It has several problems:

  • it only works in some browsers (not Chromium but OK in Firefox, unlike the Qobuz pages themselves whcih work in all browsers I have tried)
  • it only plays 1 minute sections and then seques into another, which makes it impossible to 'listen' properly to selected sections of a few properly edited minutes as we used to
  • you have to stop one lot playing before starting another lot, otherwise they all play at once
  • several labels, often the rarer ones which can be more interesting and harder to find, are not present

 

So I went to Spotify (free):

  • the user interface is much better than the Qobuz page you provided (which may be a feature of your page rather than of Qobuz)
  • one can play full movements - even better than the Player
  • of the recordings available, all tracks are available, again better than the Player
  • but even more labels and recordings are missing
  • adverts come on, requiring a tea break - I can live with that

 

I don't if either service will provide a history of the last few months, unlike the player.

 

I'm also not too worried by the quality.  It's free, and what I'm really trying to assess is whether I like the performance well enough to buy it.  I'll live with less than the best sound if I have to.

 

To conclude, neither service does what the Player did so well for me.  However, if others were not using it then I understand its withdrawal.  Please document the alternatives (and do so regularly so that newcomers know where to go) , with their pros and cons, and encourage all services to provide all your recommended recordings, even if only in extracts.

 

And in response to the last comment, the big issue for me is the 50% increase in price in one year.  Surely many people will regard that as extraordinary, to say the least.  I fear for the survival of the magazine.

 

I'm always here, Graham, and

I'm always here, Graham, and I have, still, high hopes that this forum can survive, even thrive, if its members wish to participate in any form of exchanging information and more. Besides, I have noticed new members coming up unexpectedly. I sincerely hope that some old ones may come back (with no preconditions).

However, what is alarming is threads like this one, where subscribers are faced with problems never happened before...apparently. I just read the "physical" magazine. I do not use any device or other facility, like the Player or streaming devices and I never counted on the old CD cover. However, I'm only the exception. I sincerely hope the magazine finds its way to serve its high reputation.

Parla

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