The economics of streaming classical music

Posted on: October 9, 2015

“Streaming poses unique and far greater problems for the classical industry than it does for the pop world,” writes Charlotte Gardner in Tuesday’s (10/6) Gramophone (U.K.). Says Steve Smith, founder and director of the Tallis Scholars’ record label Gimell Records, … “ ‘If someone listens to the Gimell recording of John Browne’s music, which has just five tracks ranging between 13 and 15 minutes, and somebody else is listening to a normal pop album which may have 16 or 17 tracks lasting three or four minutes, we would only get five tracks’ worth of payment.’ … A recent study … found that classical music accounts for six per cent of average music-related distribution across Spotify, Youtube, Vevo, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, SoundCloud and Instagram. And remember, that’s compared to an overall market share of 3.2 per cent…. The billion-dollar question is how to translate this potential group of new, unprejudiced, online classical listeners into the millions of streams needed to keep the classical record industry afloat, and the answer to that one may well be playlists.” The article discusses business strategies at record labels including Delphian, Hyperion, and Signum, as well as Universal, Warner, and Sony and the classical-only streaming platforms Grammofy, MeloMe, and Idagio.

Posted October 9, 2015