Classical Music Not Dead

Well, well, well. Alex Ross:

More on that 22.5% bump
in classical record sales: reports from insiders suggest that the rise
is not, in fact, due to crossover fare (Il Divo, André Rieu, the
Dowland-howling Sting) but to the real thing (Mozart, Beethoven, Louis
Andriessen). All categories of classical music are selling briskly on
online stores such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and ArkivMusic as well as on iTunes and other MP3 outlets. There’s a good article by Symphony‘s Jayson Greene on the phenomenon, with reference to the Long Tail
effect. Everyone seems to agree that the uptick has come about because
the Internet has made the music more readily available, and also more
readily comprehensible. You no longer need to skulk through the doors
of a sepulchral room at Tower Records (RIP) and paw through fifty
Beethoven Fifths to find what you like. Online there are snappy
reviews, lists of recommended starter recordings, and, most important,
sound samples so you can try out any disc (not just a few
featured releases) before you buy. The whole business is demystified.
I’m proud to say I more or less predicted this in 2004, when I wrote that the iPod was going to break down classical stereotypes.

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no, but the concern is that it is being marginalised – pushed to the edges. It’s a problem faced by all the fine arts, but one especially acute in classical music because of the huge costs of orchestras.


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