The Business of Classical Music: Classical Music After the CD

The Business of Classical Music: Classical Music After the CD. I found this via a post on marginalrevolution.com by Tyler Cowen. I am putting it here to revisit it when I have some more time and then maybe blog longer about it.

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Opera boom in America…

…according to this article from The American. Thanks to Cafe Hayek (!) for bringing it to my attention. Here is a quote from the article (the comparison with NFL is a amazing to me):

The U.S. now has 125 professional opera companies, 60 percent of them launched since 1970, according to the trade group OPERA America. The U.S. has more opera companies than Germany and nearly twice as many as Italy. In the most comprehensive recent study, the National Endowment for the Arts found that between 1982 and 2002, total attendance at live opera performances grew 46 percent.

Annual admissions are now estimated at 20 million, roughly the same attendance as NFL football games (22 million, including playoffs, in 2006–07). In part, this reflects a shift toward seeing opera domestically. “Foreign opera destinations like Salzburg and Glyndebourne are more expensive, and more Americans are staying home—and probably feeling safer for it,” says Richard Gaddes, general director of the Santa Fe Opera in New Mexico.

Apple’s non-DRM music tested

Yesterday Apple introduced in iTunes music from EMI sampled at a higher rate than the iTunes usual for higher audio quality; this music is also offered without digital-rights management (DRM), which means that a purchaser of it can play it in just about any gadget that can play an MP3. I downloaded the Brahms German Requiem under this deal yesterday, and it was a nice purchase for the price (Berlin Philharmonic, Simon Rattle conducting, Dorothea Roschmann, soprano, and Thomas Quasthoff, bass-baritone). I played it through BOSE earphones and a BOSE docking station, and it sounded very good (talking sound quality here, not musical interpretation, though that is very good too).

I am not sure that I would be able to identify the new-style offerings from the old style ones in a “blind” test (wait, shouldn’t that be a “deaf” test?) but I did find this link on the point, courtesy of slashdot.org. Visit it to see what happened when somebody performed a “blind” test. (Hurray for people over 40 for this; despite our deteriorating ears, we seem to do better in discerning audio quality.)

Update: the site I linked to is now slashdotted… That was quick. I hope it will be back up soon.