I would like to believe the assertion that classical fans do not download music. I don't. Nor does Chris Howell.
Moreover, nor do the owners of the smaller record labels. Simon Perry of Hyperion has frequently lamented the existential threat posed by the streaming of complete works to the survival of record labels such as his. He has repeatedly pointed out that any income record companies may derive from any royalties paid by You Tube to record companies-and I understand that there may be such arrangements in place-are tiny compared to the income from the sale of a cd.
Given that a cd of orchestral music can cost in the range of £40,000-50,000 to produce the sale of 2,000 copies does not cover the cost. The smaller labels therefore struggle to stay afloat. Many of the cds they produce have to be funded by those with the money and interest to do so. One recent cd of British symphonic music was certainly funded by an individual with both!
I can fully understand that there are plenty of people without the spare cash to buy cds in large numbers. I can also understand people wanting to sample a cd before buying it. If the number who did just that outweighed the number who download it at no cost to themselves then I could understand the sampling argument. That is, as Ford says, "unknowable" but the record companies seem to be less than comfortable with any such assertion.
We clearly live in a world in which a younger generation is comfortable to stream music and less inclined to purchase cds. If this practice continues unabated and extends then the small classical labels may not survive and the music they record will no longer be recorded. It is that stark!
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