Streaming Ahead?

StreamingI really do love reading the British trade mag. Classical Music over coffee of a morning once a month or so if only to digest, in that inimitable style only the British can muster, what’s happening in Classical Music and Opera in the UK.

Interesting to note that the Mark Allen Group has bought out this title along with Rhinegold Publishing in recent days.  This is potentially not a good thing in terms of editorial independence, but that’s a subject for a different day.

I’m also somewhat fascinated by the ‘infotorials’ disguised under the banner of ‘guest editing’ in the August edition about music streaming and its growing impact on the classical music sector.  Provided by industry insiders (I have no wish to mention them by name) I can’t quite throw off the feeling I am being conned.

That said, if you want to track down this edition of the magazine, do take careful note of what Becky Lees (Head of LSO Live) and Alexander Van Ingen (CE of The Academy of Ancient Music) have to say; being both insightful, grounded, if not direct and unapologetic.  The rest, however, suffers from a lack of balanced reporting.  There are some vested interests in play. Continue Reading →

A Spotify Statistic Today

Nan_Schwartz_RecordSo it turns out that my record of the orchestral music of Nan Schwartz (see image) has had over 507,000 plays in just over three-and-a-half months since the record was released on the Divine Art Records label in March this year.

Who knew?

Well besides the 507,000 very kind folk who’ve discovered this American composer’s consumate and extraordinary music (courtesy of an initial promotion by Naxos  on their Spotify Playlist – thank you guys!) it seems that the ‘established’ classical music press haven’t quite caught up.

It’s an interesting statistic when you compare Nan’s numbers to some of the apparently better recognised names (current artists, composers and conductors) flaunted by the major record labels and their Spotify statistics over the same period!

Ah, well, all in good time I imagine.


Conducting Studies as Research?

William_Christie_ConductorI was recently at a conducting conference in Oxford, UK, designed by academics for academics.  Beyond giving a paper concerning technical issues with live-streaming concerts and the inherent challenges of new strategies in audience engagement, it was, for the most part, an uninteresting conference populated by college and conservatory conductors (both instrumental and choral educators) – some of whom I must say have very peculiar ideas as to what constitutes conducting as a communicative musical artform.

There was one session, however, in which the very wonderful conductor, William (Bill) Christie, was interviewed about his career and work in historically informed productions and research into Baroque French Opera.  This session alone was worth the price of admission, so I was glad that I went to the conference in the final wash-up.

But the conference, as it went on, made me give thought to the very vast differences there are between conductors who work as conductors in the professional music industry (arcane as it is) and others who spend inordinate amounts of time and energy undertaking “research” into what is referred to as, ‘Conducting Studies’. Continue Reading →