Wednesday (8/24) on the Variety website, Richard S. Ginell writes, “Looking at the classical CD business in 2011, some may wonder whether there still is a classical CD business. The major labels—Universal, EMI, Sony and Warner Music Group—are mostly shooting out reissues these days. The demise of the Tower Records chain in fall 2006 hit classical labels hardest of all, for Tower was the primary showcase for their deep catalog product. … But hold those obituaries for the classical CD. Nielsen SoundScan’s report for the first half of 2011 indicates that classical music had the biggest gain in sales of all genres, 13%, over the first half of 2010, for a total of 3.8 million albums. Granted, that’s still a small percentage of the total market (about 2.4%), but it shows that classical is holding its own and then some, with other genres up slightly or slipping. Moreover, the majors are being supplanted by a swarm of activity from other, smaller, nimbler sources. Many orchestras increasingly take matters into their own hands, no longer relying on the majors for exposure. The Chicago Symphony has its own label, CSO Resound, so do the Boston and St. Louis symphonies, as well as the London Symphony, London Philharmonic and several other foreign orchestras.”

Posted August 26, 2011