The music industry evolved much more in the past 10 years than in the past 50 years. In deed Internet changed a lot the way we buy or listen to music. Of course it also developed the piracy around exchanging music illegally. And this would be another subject. If we focus on the “legal”channels, we can see that there are different prices for different sort of music and unfortunately Classical music is much more expensive than other categories. In deed, if you compare for example different kind of music in the iTunes store, we can see that classic music is much more expensive in general than Pop, Rock, Folk or even than world music. A good classical album can cost between 15$ up to 50$ depending on the artist and the orchestra. At the contrary, a Pop album will cost between 7$ up to 20$. So this makes things hard if we want people to listen to what we call the “Great music”. Fortunately, more and more resources are available, some of them for free and others for soft prices.
Let’s start with one of the biggest database for classical music online. It is called http://public-domain-archive.com. It is a great music database containing public domain recordings from classic music at least 50 years old. You can listening to the files online or download the music files in MP3 format for free. Most of record files are from 1930’s to 1950’s recordings, so quality is not always available but it is a great FREE source for classical music. It has some precious treasures like the 1955 Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor by Herbert von Karajan and the Philharmonia Orchestra. It is a great source for discovery and exploration of different composers. More than 60 different classic composers from Beethoven, to Mozart, Paganini, Wagner… The website is quite simple in terms of navigation and layout but the essential is there.
Another option is the iTunes store. I must say that if you look well, Apple tried to make a lot of efforts to make Classical music available at a soft-price. In some countries the offer is not available. In Switzerland for example, the iTunes store does not propose cheap prices for classic music. Maybe Apple thinks swiss people are rich 🙁
But in another countries, you can find very interesting offers. I took the example of the US and the French iTunes stores.
In the US, we have an offer called “50 of the Best…Classical music”.
It represents a large choice of albums at 5,99$ by composers like Chopin, Debussy or Beethoven, Verdi and Handel. It is a great way to discover the great classics. The price is even cheaper than in Europe.
In France, they have a more “ironic” offer name, called “Classique pour les Nuls” which in french means Classical music for dumbs, like the famous collection of books.
Also, Apple proposes a quite interesting catalog in the french store, in which you can discover all the classic compositors but also, “Maria Callas for Dumbs” or “Opera for dumbs”. These albums are great introducers to the big classics.
So, there are no reasons to not discover classical music. To learn more about contemporary artists, one of the best places is the official website of the Deutsche Grammophon. A part of being a historical great institution, the Deutsche Grammophon presents a great choice of new contemporary singers and composers. Do not hesitate to take a tour there.
info sourced at iTunes, Deutsche Grammophon
image: Danilo Rizzuti