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Founded in 1923 by Sir Compton Mackenzie and Christopher Stone as ‘an organ of candid opinion for the numerous possessors of gramophones’

Grappling with the issues facing the industry

Before beginning this, I turned to see what I’d written a year ago when I last returned from Classical:NEXT. This, by way of reminder, is the annual gathering of the classical industry – labels, distributors, representatives of artists and venues – where plans are shared, ideas aired, and deals done. Much holds true a year on. Readers have much to look forward to with regards to forthcoming releases. There is still as much passion and belief as ever in the importance of making music, and making that music available as widely as possible, and for posterity.

Equally familar was that the changes brought about by digital delivery of music – be that downloading or streaming – dominated many a conversation. But whereas, a year ago, the debate was about how streaming was going to change our industry, a year on it’s no longer about looking ahead. That change is here. Recent statistics from the IFPI, the international record industry organisation, reveal that across the entirety of music -– from pop to polyphony – digital music has now overtaken physical (ie CDs) in terms of industry revenue, and that within that, streaming is about to overtake downloads. Streaming revenues are now four times what they were just five years ago, and that’s helped the overall industry to grow by 3.2%.

money to make, and without income labels cannot take the risks with new artists and repertoire which are a crucial catalyst of creativity. I also believe that it’s important to maintain a link in people’s minds between creativity and cost. But it’s worth noting that there are now an estimated 68m people paying to subscribe to a streaming service – up from 41m just a year ago.

It’s usual at this point to insert the caveat that classical music is different to other forms of music in the way people collect it and explore it. But while acknowledging some truth in that, I’d also like to ask: why should that necessarily be? I chaired a conference session on streaming at Classical:NEXT, and sitting on my panel was the CEO of X5 Music, a company which presents classical music through digital compilations and playlists, and which this year expects to deliver an extraordinary 600m classical streams. His view is that classical music, if part of a non-genrespecific streaming service, becomes music like any other – that tomorrow’s classical listeners look, well, just like anybody else. That’s an inspiring thought. Less than a week later, X5 Music was bought by Warner Music Group: quite a statement of belief in the importance of streaming from a major label.

That’s a snapshot of a complicated picture of course – there are markets, such as Germany and Japan, where physical sales are much stronger than digital. There’s also the gulf between what labels earn from paid subscription services and the much lower figure from free, ad-funded services, despite the much higher usage of the latter. That needs addressing: recordings cost

I’m aware that this editorial has been somewhat business-focused. But behind the recordings which enhance our lives are people and organisations with bills to pay, and it’s important that, as listeners, we understand and engage with the issues they face. For without the record industry – in whatever future form it takes – there would be no recordings. martin.cullingford@markallengroup.com

THIS MONTH’S CONTRIBUTORS

‘I was intrigued when I heard that Nicola Benedetti’s new disc paired Glazunov and Shostakovich concertos,’ writes

‘The music of Reger has been a private passion of mine for many years, so it has been great to share my

CHARLOTTE GARDNER who interviewed the violinist for our cover feature. ‘It sounded like a change of recording direction for her, which she confirmed over the course of a very honest and immensely enjoyable interview.’

discoveries for this centenary feature,’ writes GAVIN DIXON. ‘He still has an image problem, but his charming and lyrical music speaks for itself. I hope I can persuade you to take the plunge and explore his unique musical world.’

‘Encapsulating Latin American classical music in anything less than a multivolume encyclopedia is a daunting endeavour,’ writes ANDREWFARACH-COLTON, who tackled that task for us this month. ‘I’m so grateful to have been guided by some extraordinary musicians whose tireless advocacy is bringing this music the attention it deserves.’

THE REVIEWERS Andrew Achenbach • Nalen Anthoni • Tim Ashley • Mike Ashman • Richard Bratby • Edward Breen Philip Clark • Alexandra Coghlan • Rob Cowan (consultant reviewer) • Jeremy Dibble • Peter Dickinson • Jed Distler Adrian Edwards • Richard Fairman • David Fallows • David Fanning • Iain Fenlon • Neil Fisher • Fabrice Fitch Jonathan Freeman-Attwood • Charlotte Gardner • Caroline Gill • David Gutman • Christian Hoskins • Lindsay Kemp Philip Kennicott • Richard Lawrence • Andrew Mellor • Kate Molleson • Ivan Moody • Bryce Morrison • Hannah Nepil Jeremy Nicholas • Christopher Nickol • Geoffrey Norris • Richard Osborne • Stephen Plaistow • Mark Pullinger Peter Quantrill • Guy Rickards • Malcolm Riley • Marc Rochester • Patrick Rucker • Julie Anne Sadie Edward Seckerson • Hugo Shirley • Pwyll ap Siôn • Harriet Smith • David Patrick Stearns • David Threasher David Vickers • John Warrack • Richard Whitehouse • Arnold Whittall • Richard Wigmore • William Yeoman

Gramophone, which has been serving the classical music world since 1923, is first and foremost a monthly review magazine, delivered today in both print and digital formats. It boasts an eminent and knowledgeable panel of experts, which reviews the full range of classical music recordings. Its reviews are completely independent. In addition to reviews, its interviews and features help readers to explore in greater depth the recordings that the magazine covers, as well as offer insight into the work of composers and performers. It is the magazine for the classical record collector, as well as for the enthusiast starting a voyage of discovery.

gramophone.co.uk

GRAMOPHONE JULY 2016 3

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