The CD Side of Music
I've been meaning to follow up on my recent CD poll/post, but I've been too busy listening to some of the CDs that threaten to flood my house.
The poll -- inconclusive, as my polls seem fated to be -- showed that plenty of people are still buying CDs, and everyone is still listening. I encourage you to take a look at some of the listening suggestions posted in the comments. I, for one, am really curious about the poster who has chosen to focus on one single composer: which composer? My money is on Bach, but this gives rise to another question: if you were only going to listen to one composer, which composer would it be?
Some people still equate "classical recording" with "CD." There's no question that more and more things are being recorded. But does the medium matter? ArkivMusic, as I've said before, predicated its whole business model on the idea that classical music lovers are more conservative and want a physical object, but even they recently modified their CD-only model by adding downloads. Only 39% of my poll respondents so far indicated they still buy CDs at the same rate as ever -- more than any other category, but hardly a majority.
What prompted me to write this now was a recent post from Molly Sheridan (who's written a couple of very good pieces for the Washington Post), whose blog Mind the Gap addresses the contradictions of contemporary culture; she indicated that the actual physical object isn't all that important to her.
She also links to Jody Dalton's set of pieces on the current state of recording on New Music Box, which starts out by stating that contemporary classical recording is alive and well. I won't argue that zillions of CDs are coming out these days (you could check that figure), but he doesn't really address the question of whether anyone can make money off them, and how they continue to produce them if (or, rather, since) they can't.
Edited to add: And while we're on the subject of listening, Norman Lebrecht today has posted such a lovely and sensitive meditation on finding the good in a mediocre performance of Mahler's 9th that I couldn't not link to it.
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