Gramophone player

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Keep Clips Free and Available for US Subscribers!

I am also in the US, and agree with Alan Bell (quoted on this comment, below).  I have bought many CDs after hearing clips, and I will not pay additional for this, as the magazine subscription is costly enough.  Getting the clips is about 85% of why I like the magazine, what I use it for.  Please make it available, free, to readers in the US, too.  Thank you, DR

Alan Bell wrote:

Dear Martin the Editor:    This US subscriber  of 50 years is infuriated enough to stop subscribing.   While the choice of a platform on which to present excerpts is yours, reacting to their loss is mine.  I can understand your not wanting to pay for cover mount CDs,  and the Player, though buggy and glitchy did the job in its place, but now, nothing.   The streaming service with which you have made an alliance, Qobuz, is not available in the US if it even lasts much longer elsewhere,  I depended on hearing those excerpts to amplify the reviews, and if the ultimate objective of a review is to  sell  (or unsell) records, I bought many because of the combination of the review and sample clip.  Now, no, which is ultimately destructive to the revenue base of the magazine.   What bright spark is making these decisions, to drive me away and then prevent me from buying what the magazine is about?   Are you nuts?   I take you at your word, that feedback from the paying customers is useful to you.  I would guess no one is happy with what you are doing,  but most will not take the time to scream.   I have taken the time.   Monopoly businesses act in high handed and arrogant ways on the assumption that they have you by the shorties and you have no other place to go.     Sooner or later, that approach destroys a business.   I ask you to reconsider.          AB

Gramophone Player

Dear all,

Thank you for all these comments in the thread about the Gramophone Player (as well as those who have taken the time to write to me directly). As mentioned before, the statistics had shown that the Player was not that well used anymore, and certainly represented a very small proportion of overall usage of our website (and of magazine readers). But it's been interesting, and heartening, to know how important it had been to those who did use it. 

In an era of streaming services such as Qobuz and Spotify, where full albums, or excerpts of every track on an album, are so widely available (accounting for the large decline in Player usage), we hadn't expected such a response. And clearly our replacement solution - the page of Qobuz excerpts - has not been suitable for all. 

As promised when I requested feedback, we're now going to take on board people's points and try and find a solution. However, to help me, could you respond with thoughts on the following: 

- How did you use the Player (including how much and how often)?

- What streaming services do you use, and what role do these play for you in sampling recordings before buying? 

- As we are not a streaming service, there are constraints on what music we can present, and how much of it. Given this, what would be most useful to you? 

Thanks again - and as always, feel free to contact me directly at martin.cullingford@markallengroup.com

Martin

Editor and Publisher, Gramophone

Player usage

I used the CD, and then the player, every month without fail for several years.  I even went to some lengths to ensure I could pipe the player through my hifi (monitoring the website sound and streaming it to my music server and thence to my hifi).  It certainly helped me make purchasing decisions about music new to me, and about new performances of familiar works.  It's true I often only listened to some tracks once, but some I played several times to make up my mind.

 

I use Qobuz, but to buy, not stream.  I occasionally use free Spotify, although I note you haven't created any new monthly playlists there recently.  Being an untrusting fellow, when I want to play something I want it where I can get it every time, not over a piece of wire or fibre leading who knows where.  My internet connection is now quite reliable, but not too many months ago I was without it for a couple of weeks.  So streaming is in principle OK for dipping my toe in the water, but not for permanent listening.

 

Your Qobuz streaming page doesn't work in Chromium (my preferred browser) so I have to switch to Firefox.  Many tracks are missing, and those that are there are only a minute each, which isn't enough by any stretch of imagination.  Spotify is also selective, and I get ads, but at least the music that is there is not truncated.  I can't use itunes because Apple don't like linux (believe me, I have tried....).

 

Searching for the tracks myself across several streaming platforms is feasible, but takes a lot more effort and is frustratingly incomplete.  The convenience of reading and just clicking on the player to hear whole sections of a performance at the same time cannot be overstated, and that's what would be most useful to me. 

So your changes will mean I buy less.  I might hope that record companies might be able to see their way to help support you and the diminishing classical market by reinstating the player, or something like it.

 

Low purchase levels.

..."To buy less" (physical products) seems to be a "proud" trend perhaps even in the circles of esteemed publications. Streaming seems to be the hot fashion now. However, record companies keep producing CDs, SACDs, DVDs, Audio Blu-rays etc. I also wondered whether the record companies care (less)...

We'll see.

Parla

Franz

Chrome the rock band may have no problems, though Krommer might have some hope as well.

Gramophone players

For me, the player is key to my getting real benefit from Gramophone. Just reading about performances or pieces is like reading about paintings. It means little without without the direct, personal experience. I still have a collection of the CDs you placed in Gramophone before "Player" replaced them. I'll re-up if you bring it back.

aural gramophone

I bought every issue of Gramophone, though I was never a subscriber, from 1979 to 2002. I then left the UK and could not afford to subscribe or buy the magazine thereafter. So I've never read Gramophone since. The cover CD came in, if I remember rightly, around 1993 or 1994, largely in response to the new BBC Music Magazine. I was merely indifferent to this innovation; other readers were actively hostile. I may have listened to the odd track but generally felt this CD to be irrelevant. I had confidence in the reviewers - otherwise I wouldn't have continued to buy the magazine in the first place. So why and when did any aural accompaniment to Gramophone become indispensible? This isn't a generational thing. I think many of those  complaining about the disappearance of the player, and before that the CD, are of my vintage or even older.

guillaume wrote:

guillaume wrote:

  I had confidence in the reviewers - otherwise I wouldn't have continued to buy the magazine in the first place. So why and when did any aural accompaniment to Gramophone become indispensible? 

 

I agree with the sentiment of Guillaume's post.  It's the magazine itself that more than justifies my subscription.  I also subscribe to BBC MM and over the years have found its cover disc a most valuable introduction to a wide range of music and musicians. I have subscribed to that magazine since its early years.  Together, these magazines have opened up the world of serious music to me.  But I rarely used the G Player, and now find that my subscription to Qobuz allows easy access to 90%+ of reviewed releases.  There used to be a time when this forum provided valuable recommendations, with some posters' contributions always worth following up.  Now it's a ghost town.

VicJayL wrote:There used to

VicJayL wrote:

There used to be a time when this forum provided valuable recommendations, with some posters' contributions always worth following up.  Now it's a ghost town.

You are right, Vic. I've often wondered why the management don't do anything about it. (And I am not just talking about The Omniscient One.) To create a vibrant forum is quite straightforward these days. It just requires management to make it an objective.

I can only suppose they have had done some kind of financial cost-benefit analysis and come to the conclusion that it isn't really worth the effort. It sounds a bit counter-intuitive, but who knows? Either that, or they are just too busy with other matters to attend to it or give it the necessary thought. Even so: why not throw the whole thing on the lap of some unpaid, internee graduate? Here - sort this forum out! I want a thirty extra members per month, x number of threads per week etc. Quite easy to achieve, I would have thought.........

Let's suppose...

I suppose this "internee graduate" should know something and, most importantly, care about Classical Music to generate an "x number" of genuine and spontaneous threads per week. As for the "thirty extra members per month", well, that will require something more than the internee's skills...

There are certain things in the world of Classical Music being in decline, making people less and less interested in indulging -seriously- in it. We live in difficult, in almost any way, times...

Parla

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