What next?

3 posts / 0 new
Last post
What next?

Making recordings of classical music is usually a very expensive process and a return on the investment is not guaranteed.  

 

Behaviours of recording companies in recent years has, largely, to repackage old recordings and put them on the market.

 

I recently saw an interview with the director of The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips, and he was saying that his record company, Gimell, had no funds to record further works following the completion of the Josquin masses (which was done earlier this year).

 

As a lover of much of the classical music universe I am anxious that the future of recording is bleak.

 

I understand that live performances are still viable but there is certainly a place for recorded music.

 

What are your thoughts - is there a future: what does it look like in 5 or 10 years?

 

Best,

Andrew

Andrew

What next and what now.

When I became member of this forum, about six years ago, I initiated a thread asking, more or less, the question of what could be the future (the role) of Classical Music in our modern lifestyle.  

Of course, the future of the recording companies and the recorded music is predominantly a problem of economics (supply and demand for playback products: CDs, SACDs, DVDs, Blu-ray). However, the general trend of the evolving role of Classical Music is going to affect the market of playback music anyway.

As for the role of this Music, I see that it is trivialised by the media (or at least a number of them) in a way to "streamline" its role (recently I saw a program about Vivaldi, where the production team did whatever possible to convince the whatever audience was about to see this program that the composer was a rock star of his era and his "Four Seasons" is the "equivalent" of any sort of rock "achievement"). 

As for the recording labels, the downloading, the streaming services and generally Internet "services" have created a new trend that somehow is going to lead to a new situation. However, there are certain issues that have to be resolved and some that have to be overlooked. The same streaming service cannot be available around the globe; they operate in a range of countries with a (good) variety of options in terms of labels and particular titles. Quality is also variable (Spotify etc. versus Qobuz, Primrphone etc.). There is still a sharp division of the views of various artists and producers on whether they have to abandon the traditional playback physical product that projected both the different qualities of the recording company and the production values of the particular product.

The good news, somehow, is that there is still a good number of operating record labels and of quite a few new ones that pop up, even for a while, all over the world. Just checking the "future releases" in the Presto site, one can see 381 new forthcoming releases till Oct.20 (even if half of them are new, it is a good number anyway) and 33 SACDs (normally most of them are new releases or "reborn" old ones). By the way, Presto does not represent but only a fraction of the world production.

My main concern is that the level and the attitude of the whole business in this realm is in decline in the sense that excellence is enough (brilliance is almost forgotten), money making is the driven force in the way that almost any compromise can be accepted and "new ideas" can prevail easily to the detriment of traditional values and norms. However, if the majority of people worldwide are going to be happy this way, let it be...

Parla

Musical Nuggets Anyone?

It seems to me that there has been a change, perhaps irreversible, in the way in which the majority of people (excluding those in the profession, obviously) "consume" classical music nowadays. Sitting down attentively to listen to an entire work goes way beyond the attention spans of many of those accustomed to Classic FM - sized musical pieces, basically bleeding chunks ripped from longer works, designed to fill the gaps between radio advertisements. One has only to attend a classical concert or worse, ballet performance, to encounter frenzied applause breaking out every few minutes, totally blocking the concentration of both music-makers and audience. The performers appear to have given up trying to resist it, and were one to try to "shush" the more excitable audience members sitting nearby one would probably seem like a character in an old H.E. Bateman cartoon (how about: "The Man Who demanded silence after the third movement of Tchaikovsky's 6th Symphony").

 

It follows that such people are less inclined to buy their recorded classical music in complete works, a fact that has long been recognised and acted on by  record labels who compile albums consisting entirely of musical lollipops. Most download websites also give the buyer the option of paying by the track or by the whole piece, giving the listener the option to avoid the "boring bits" by not buying them in the first place.  

 

How will this work out commercially? The mega-labels will no doubt survive by a combination of selectively recycling their large back-catalogues and signing up a few big-name performers to refresh the more popular works. For a record company with a mission to record and promote unusual and/or challenging works the future looks bleak. Do we need a sort of (probably subsidised, National Theatre style) 'vanity publisher' to cater for  esoteric classical recordings?

Roderick

Log in or register to post comments

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£67/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2018