There's a discussion going on in 'the other place' about the impending death of the single. I thought it interesting that there's so much feeling that the 'popular' music industry is in crisis, because exactly the same thing is being said about the classical side.....but I really don't see it. This is a copy of the post I put up there - 'cos I'm interested in others' feelings about the classical music industry.\r\n\r\nFrom where I sit, I see an unprecendented amount of music being released and available. When I was at school/uni I would go into the local music shop and see maybe one recording of some of the mainstream repertoire...(except if you went to Blackwells in Oxford or Foyles in London)...and that was about it unless you forked out for a special order. Now with internet shops you can get any record currently on release (and all sorts of deleted ones 2nd hand as well) at the press of a button. And the range of stuff is huge - there's the period band revolution, new chamber groups all over the place, and loads of repertoire (modern and ancient) getting first recordings - and the recording quality has never been higher IMHO. There are all sorts of independent labels around as well that I don't remember when I was a lad - maybe they were there but I never saw them in the highstreet. So we see a bunch of labels pushing church and organ music (Priory, Saydisc, Gimmell etc), others that do a really good job on the English niche (Hyperion, Chandos) or scandinavian (BIS, Ondine) and also play with the big boys. The success of Naxos is quite staggering - they've forced prices down, made damned good stabs at the niches (I'm particularly impressed by their English, Scandinavian and Russian repertoire), and made money out of it - and got the majors to actually make use of their back catalogue.\r\n\r\nAdmittedly the area that's suffering is the mainstream - I heard Andre Previn on the radio a few weeks ago bemoaning the fact that e.g. the Boston SO or Concertgebouw (although not sure I agree about the second - they've produced a fair number of recordings under Chailly) very rarely get into the recording studio now, whereas when he was in charge of the LSO in the 70s he could just phone up the guys at Decca or EMI when something came together and get it recorded the following week. This is being addressed now though by orchestras setting up their own labels - e.g. LSO Live, Halle just doing the same thing, and Avie acting as a production house for orchestras that want to do their own thing but can't get the majors interested (e.g. the recent SFSO Mahler cycle under Tilson Thomas, after being dropped by RCA).\r\n\r\nMaybe this [u]is[/u] just the last blast of a dying industry (a sort of Supernova effect?), but things are pretty busy at the moment - R3's Saturday morning CD review program is about to be expanded (when it returns after its summer break) from 3 to 4 hours, largely to accomodate the vast numbers of new releases coming through!\r\n\r\nThe major damage I see being done to the classical field is misguided attempts to popularise by 'dumbing down': popularise by all means but do it by giving quality music with top quality performances, but without the snobbishness and pretention that too often comes as part of the 'classical' tag. The majors have all dropped big stars in their fields (I remember RCA dropped Tilson Thomas and Slatkin - and others I can't remember now have been dropped by the others), and just keep the superstar names (like Ma, Chang) or latest wunderkinder, who may not be bad but almost certainly require a bit of maturing before justifying the hype they get.