Anne Midgette of the New York Times has written an excellent piece about the situation of classical music on the Internet, and I say this not merely because she was kind enough to include a mention of this site (and, clandestinely, of The Standing Room). She suggests lucidly why the now defunct Andante.com failed to catch fire, despite its obvious editorial excellence, while other sites have thrived. She also garners a startling statistic from iTunes — that classical music comprises twelve percent of sales on that site. Back in October I linked to a piece by Marc Shulgold in which Mark Berry of Naxos asserted that classical music accounted for six percent of all Internet downloads. We've been told for some years that classical music makes up only three or four percent of record sales overall. Something's happening here, and Time, Newsweek, and Entertainment Weekly (to name three magazines that have dropped all classical-music coverage) don't know what it is. For more, read Anastasia Tsioulcas in Billboard and Scott Timberg in the LA Times.
May I extend a warm welcome to Times readers who are new to this site. You will find here a sporadic blog going back to 2004 — most of the very recent posts are written by guest-blogger Justin Davidson, of Newsday — together with archives of my New Yorker columns and articles on the left and links to the wonderland of the classical Internet on the right (see especially Music Blogs). For those interested in mundane statistics, I average two thousand visits a day, and I've had eight hundred thousand hits since I started operations a year and a half ago.
Justin's back momentarily. I'm listening to a new World Music Institute disc entitled Endless Vision, Iranian and Armenian songs played by Hossein Alizadeh and Djivan Gasparyan, whose mournful beauty is intensified by the news of the day.
P. S. Adam Baer cannily identified Andante's limitations the moment it opened for business: "It is a content-rich, virtual ivory tower, designed by and geared toward aficionados who desire in-depth, genre-specific information and who agree that it will be worth something in addition to what they already pay their ISP to access everything the website has to offer.... The andante team is right to argue that the classical music world needs to take seriously the challenge of finding new listeners and that it must do a better job of opening wide its doors to let them in. The trouble is, you could say the same thing about andante."