Looking to the future

Let’s face it, we haven’t been hearing a lot of good news about the economy lately. These tough times have also pushed the already strapped classical music industry into making some very tough decisions. Eleven layoffs at the City Opera, followed by workers asked to stay home for two days because there wasn’t enough money to meet payroll. Then Gerard Mortier exists. The stories continue. In general, nobody is smiling a lot about the music business right now.

However, while CD sales have been flat, downloads have done substantially better. And, at the beginning of November Naxos announced its download site, ClassicsOnline, had made its entire catalog–nearly 22,000 DRM-free albums—available at 320 kbps. This speed and quality make MP3 files virtually indistinguishable from CDs. Additionally, in the next few months COL will begin offering certain titles in lossless. COL offers over 100 independent labels and adds more than 500 new albums each month. The cost? Well, it is a great value: complete album downloads run from $6.99 – $9.99 (obviously more for multiple-CD downloads); and individual tracks are typically $.99. In addition to the Naxos catalog, some of the labels you can find on COL include Avie Records, BIS, Capriccio, Cedille, Chandos, CPO, Dacapo, Hungaroton, Ondine, Wergo, Wigmore Hall Live, Vox and many, many more. Right now for new visitors to the site who register before December 31–no, you don’t have to provide three pages of data or your credit card number–you can get 3 tracks FREE. It’s a great way to try ClassicsOnline.

There also have been changes at Naxos Music Library. NML, which is the world’s largest collection of streaming classical, jazz, windband, choral and world music, is adding Canada’s #1 independent record label, Nettwerk Music Group, to its roster of more than 75 premiere performing arts labels, thereby expanding its offerings to include more independent popular music.

Nettwerk Music Group’s extensive catalog features artists such as Barenaked Ladies, Datarock, Delerium, Griffin House, Jars of Clay, Josh Rouse, Junkie XL, Ladytron, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Submarines, Sixpence None The Richer, The Weepies, and many others.

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