dinsdag 8 oktober 2013

Spotify; Figures, Facts, Confession and a question...

(posted this on the Gramophone forum, but no answers yet, so try it here!)
Starting with a confession and a question;
As I hardly buy any CD's anymore, it has been more than two years since I last bought a Gramophone magazine... Think it was june 2011, and although I peeked once and a while on this forum, my connection with the magazine was broken. But, since I discovered Spotify, the "need" for a magazine like the Gramophone grew and... I bought the 2013 awards issue. The combination of the Gramophone magazine and Spotify is like an "all you can eat" ticket in a paistry shop... Not only in the reviews (not all recordings are on Spotify *yet*), but also the advertisements make me hungry and explorative... :-)

At the same time, there are many discussions about the benefits (or rather, disadvantages) of Spotify for the music industry. Surprisingly little on the effects it has on the Classical music industry, except short shoutouts like:
Now, for my own understanding (and for the story below), a question: Does anyone know if classical labels are payed "per track"? Does a short Schumann piece from the Davidsbundlertanze earns a label the same amount of money as a 25 minute Mahler track? Or is there an other arrangement made for that?
-- --
In the early days of CD, large works were devided in separate tracks, even "theme 1, theme 2 development" etc sections. If Mahler of Bruckner symphonies are payed per track, that would be an interesting extra income for classical labels, I guess... ;-)

But wait, did'nt Spotify pay *anything*, or way too less for artists? And does nobody use Spotify for listening to classical music? Well, yes and... no. It's interesting to look at the amount of plays a spotify artist has had. Ok, someone like the now obcure pianist Pierre alain Volondat dit not go above the 1000 plays so far for any of his tracks; but someone like Roland Poitinen has some amazing amount of followers and track listenings...
Now note, and the label Bis does this quite cleverly, the separate "tracks" come from different re-packagings on Spotify, each with an own trigger to "lure" the listners to the same recording(s), analog to what this article:
describes in "what is lacking" in the sense and cleverness of classical labels...
and see, a Scarlatti recital by Yegvreni Sudbin get's over a million trackplays, small pieces by Eric Satie, played by pointinen (again, in different repackaging!!) a multitude of that...!
Again, maybe Spotify does not pay much:
but in the long tail thought, all these bits and pieces add up to some nice earnings for "dead" CD's...
A vague stockmusic company called "Cavendish" has around 20 million plays per smartly tagged collections like
and not only for Mozart, also their Bach, Beethoven etc collections let them earn a nice amout of income. And remember, it's not only Spotify, but also comparable services like Deezer, Rhapsody etc and future services like Google play music...
So, questions are,

1) do long tracks generate the same amount of money on Spotify as short tracks?

2) Looking at the figures and the future; if you tag your music cleverly (and do that in numurous repackagings so the user can *find* your music, also read  http://community.spotify.com/t5/Spotify-Ideas/Why-Classical-Fans-NEED-Composer-Metadata-and-what-that-could-do/idi-p/219306) is a service like Spotify a welcome new source of income for the classical music industry?

PS, Spotify and web-streaming services do not nessicarily have to "replace" other ways of listening to recorded music (over 1000 CD's I'm not throwing away!!), but can be a new way to explore music....


maandag 30 september 2013

Even the Pope could not let her play again....

For some reason, artists can become “much collected” artists. Remarkable life story, scarcity of records made, a record company more interested in fast bucks rather than taking care of their legacy (hello EMI :-) and voilà, people are willing to pay a small fortune for an original recording of that artist. Especially if it’s someone with a distinctive own voice and performance style. 
“All of the above" cumulate in the Italian violinist Gioconda de Vito.

De Vito, born in 1907, started playing music on the mandolin, but quickly transferred to the violin.
Although she was almost kicked out for being unable to carry a tune in singing (!), she studied at the Pesaro conservatory and the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome.
In 1932 she won the International Violin Competition in Vienna, but did not ambition a big international career. Instead, she became a teacher at the St. Cecilia Conservatory of Bari.
When she finally decided to record some of her repertoire (something she would
be reluctant her whole career, rare-vinyl record dealers bless her for ever about this...!)
she went to London and.... fell in love with David Bicknell, director of HMV division of EMI Records.

They married in 1949 and Gioconda de Vito thus acquired British citizenship.
In 1961, she decided it was enough, and devoted her life to housekeeping.
As a true Catholic, she found this role far more suited for her then her occupation on
the violin. Even a a plea from the Pope (!), for which she had regularly performed,
could not help. Gioconda de Vito died in 1994. Her unique, personal voice shines
through the noise of the 78RPM, which I have put on youtube. Glimpse of the record (and actual transfer of the record) are visible too in this video. Hope you will enjoy it!!

Gioconda de Vito (22nd Jun. 1907 ~ 14th Oct. 1994)
Romance for violin & orchestra No.2 in F major, op.50
29th May 1948, Abbey Road Studios, London
Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Alberto Erede.

donderdag 9 mei 2013

Winter has gone...!

Denn siehe, der Winter is vergangen, 
der Regen is weg and dahin, 
die Blumen sind herfürkommen im Land, 
der Lenz ist herbeikommen, 
und die Turteltaube läßt sich hören in
unserm Lande,

See, the winter is past,
the rain is gone and away,
the flowers flourish in the country,
Spring is at hand,
and the turtledoves are heard
in our country,

When I walked, one late evening, in a park near my house, I heard these lines being chanted cheerfully in my headphones… It was a couple of weeks ago and the Netherlands just had faced one of the longest winters in modern history. Smell of grass and blossom filled my nostrils and the sense that this Game-of-Thrones-like winter was gone and that we now had six or seven years of summer ahead, fulfilled me with a sense of joy.  Denn siehe, der Winter is vergangen” was a line from Heinrich Schütz’s two-choired motet “Stehe auf, meine Freundin” that I had acquainted from the Dutch Public radio.
Schütz primarily worked in Dresden, during the time of the Thirty Years War. What is now called Germany was at that time a horrid and apocalyptic place. Large parts of the country were literally depopulated. Estimates assume that about one third of the German population died due to the war conditions and as a consequence Schütz often wrote his pieces for a small ensemble. Musicians were forced to be soldiers and instruments were replaced by weapons… A double choir must have been an incredible luxury at that time... This Schütz motet was performed in 2007 live, by the Dutch Bach Society as part of a 17/18th century vocal music program at the festival of old music in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.!   :-)

Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672)

Georg Böhm (1661-1733)

Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707)

Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1702)

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

vrijdag 26 april 2013

How Stravinski sounded in... 1916 (!)

Sometimes you can make these remarkable discoveries online…
I already knew this record existed, but now finally found a link for it; the 1916 recording of Thomas Beecham, conducting Stravinski’s Firebird.
* You read it right, 1916…  *
Acoustic, no electricity used, only in the performance. Weird, to hear such “modern” music on an acoustic Columbia record.

Wow, was my first thought… :-)