The red light is still on….

Check out this interesting piece from Scott Spiegelberg on the state of the classical recording industry. Scott wisely points out that one reason we’re seeing fewer new artists at the major label is that classical recordings were always subsidized from somewhere, and it is that subsidy that has become harder to come by. 

More or less all pop recordings are also subsidized in one way or another, through merchandising agreements, touring, sponsorships, product endorsements, personal wealth and so on. 

Also check out Eric Edberg’s original post here. 

Great post from David Byrne here. He sees reasons for hope as major labels and record stores become less of a factor in the market. Great blog!

Note- rock and pop and jazz and world music are all facing the same challenges as classical artists. Tower sold their stuff too!   


Not to sound cynical, but the giant conglomerates which own the major labels are not interested in music. They don’t hire people who are interested in music. They’re interested in marketing and media, and they hire people who are interested in marketing and media. Funny that in an age when the prime criteria for a record contract is one’s ability to appeal to people who aren’t interested in music, record sales are down…. This is as true of pop as it is of classical music. David Byrne to Brittney Spears is not so different from Krystian Zimmerman to Katherine Jenkins.

The fact is, 25 years ago, to put out a recording, you needed multichannel recording studio with a huge console, huge tape machine and huge mic collection, your own mastering facilities, your own pressing plant, your own printing facilities, trucks to take your LPs to the distributors and so on. The tapes alone to make an album would have cost as much as an entire modern digital setup capable of recording in hi-res multi-channel sound. One needed tens of millions of dollars of infrastructure just to get on the field. Now, with a good computer set up and some excellent mics, you can get on the ground for thousands, and almost all of the costs are for MUSICIANS, which is a good thing!

c. 2006 Kenneth Woods 

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About the author

American conductor, composer and cellist Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo. He records for the Avie, Somm, Nimbus, Signum, MSR and Toccata labels.

Learn about Kenneth at

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