Classical Downloads Playing Greater Role

If there was any doubt of interest in downloading classical music, the 1.4 million downloads of Beethoven symphonies when the BBC offered them for free should have laid it to rest. The BBC’s experiments were curtailed by protests from record labels but options have continued to expand. The latest could cost as much as $10 a pop, though (price still TBD) — orchestral recordings being offered on iTunes through a Universal Music effort based on its classical labels Deutsche Grammophon and Decca. Christopher Roberts, UMG’s president for classics and jazz, tells the NYT that DG Concerts and Decca Concerts are contracting with orchestras in the U.S., the UK, France and Germany. Beyind the money, what’s really intriguing is how quickly the concerts can move to market: a February New York Philharmonic Mozart concert will show up on iTunes Tuesday; two Los Angeles Philharmonic performances from last weekend are slated for April 4.

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