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How Dare The BBC Introduce New Listeners To Beethoven

Posted: 2005-07-11
From: TechDirt
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Never underestimate the short-sightedness of record execs -- even at classical music labels, who you'd think would be a bit more understanding about these things...

Never underestimate the short-sightedness of record execs -- even at classical music labels, who you'd think would be a bit more understanding about these things. Last month the BBC got some attention for releasing, for free, downloads (just for a period of time) of all nine of Beethoven's symphonies. I downloaded them, as did about a million other people apparently. It was a nice gesture, and probably introduced plenty of people to elements of classical music that they had not experienced before. In fact, since they included an introductory explanation before each symphony, even those familiar with the music could learn something as well, adding to their overall appreciation for classical music. All of that, you would think, should be applauded by the industry -- as it should only help to drive more interest in the often ignored area of the music world. Not so. GeekNewsCentral points out that classical record label execs are positively livid about such impudence. Proving just how little he's thought through this issue, the head of one label explains: "There is the obvious issue that it is devaluing the perceived value of music. You are also leading the public to think that it is fine to download and own these files for nothing." That's because it is fine. It's completely legal, and even more important, it's helping to get a lot more people interested in the music which is only likely to increase sales. As for "devaluing the perceived value of music," does he wonder why so many classical music organizations are having so much trouble staying around? It's because there aren't enough people listening to the music -- which often involves expensive tickets to fancy symphony halls. What they need is to devalue the music to make it more accessible.

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