With CD sales down, orchestras self-release recordings online

Posted on: August 24, 2009

“Quick, which music group has won the most Grammy Awards?” asks Robert Everett-Green in Monday’s (8/24) Globe and Mail (Toronto). “No, it’s not U2 (who lead the field in popular music with 22), but the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, whose recordings have won 60. For breadth and sheer number of albums, no one can match the world’s great orchestras, some of which have been recording for nearly a century.” These days, Everett-Green says, orchestras are releasing their own recordings online. “The BSO launched its BSO Classics label earlier this year, with an initial batch of four live recordings. Two are available as CDs; the others can only be purchased as digital downloads from the BSO’s website.” The Philadelphia Orchestra too is “seeing a bigger future in marketing their own music online. They will sell you music from a selection of recent and archival concerts, one piece at a time. Most works cost $5 or $6 (U.S.), depending on the audio format. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has three live recordings for sale as digital tracks on its website (for 99 cents each), and as CDs with very limited distribution. So far, says a TSO spokesperson, the downloads outstrip the hard-copy sales by two to one, and over half the downloads are from buyers outside Canada.”

Posted August 24, 2009