‘What’s your view?’ discussion #2

Wednesday 8th September 2010

Today we are discussing the responses we got from our new feature What’s your View?” -with the question “Where do you buy classical music and in what form?” It’s interesting to see the variety of forms that people collect music and it’s also interesting to see that the divide in methods is not entirely generational but centres more on how involved and enthusiastic people are about classical music.

Many people still listen to and record music from the radio, BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM being the most popular. Is the reason they’re still popular based on how they work? People can call in to request their favourite works or recordings and they will be played. Classic FM also has a weekly chart of the most popular classical pieces, this appeals to a more mainstream classical listener. Do people prefer to listen to the radio as they are learning more in the process? The classical demographic still sees the radio as an essential outlet for their music which is a big contrast to the popular music radio stations, which are dealing with a falling number of listeners. Is this because classical music has a niche audience which will never change and popular music audiences change their preferences regularly?

It was mostly the older generation still buying physical copies of music from shops and they were not limited to CD format, there were people buying LP’s, minidiscs and tapes. We were told about some good shops in Soho, London where classical enthusiasts can hunt for their favourite recordings, one such store is Harold Moores, which is a quaint little store with a welcoming environment. There is of course the corporate stores such as HMV which do have a variety of classical recordings but mostly new releases or albums that have been or are on the classical charts. Does hunting through an old record shop with a large catalogue of classical music excite and stimulate people?

The internet has clearly become an essential in all aspects of communication and purchasing in the last ten years so it’s no surprise that people use it in a variety of ways to buy music. Some people like bargains so they buy hard copies, usually CD’s and sometimes second hand from amazon and eBay. Amazon has an amazing catalogue of classical music and you can find almost any relevant recording and some more conspicuous ones. iTunes is also a front runner of online music purchasing but unlike Amazon there is less variety of classical music on offer and it only comes in digital form. Is the digital form of music on the rise due to iPods and mp3 players that require digital copies? The digital music database Spotify has become increasingly popular with the younger generation as it offers the opportunity to listen to any of the pieces on it’s catalogue for free (if you have an account). Naxos is very popular for classical music listeners as it is strictly for classical music, even universities encourage their music students to use it for their studies!

Does where you access music depend less on convenience and entirely on the actual recording itself? Most people who buy classical music are classically inclined and have particular recordings of certain ensembles, artists and works that they prefer, so they don’t mind having it as an LP or tape. The younger generation are increasingly buying digital copies online is this down to convenience, or could it be that they have not yet ripened their musical preferences? It might also be good to consider where SHOULD we buy music from? If we carry on buying online we will put other outlets out of business, is a happy medium between methods required to keep some industries afloat and to also keep the excitement of hunting for your recording in an old store, whether it be vinyl, tape or CD?

How do you get your music and in what format? Can you relate to any of the above? Would it be fair to say that as classical music is timeless and that it doesn’t matter how or where we get it, as long as we have it?