Thursday (4/1) on the New York Times online, Daniel J. Wakin writes about a new reality facing orchestras today with regard to recordings: “the industry has faded away. It’s do-it-yourself time. … Orchestras offer an array of often direct channels to your eardrums: selling their own CDs and DVDs; providing live streams to your computer; making those streams available for some time after the fact; offering downloads to be owned permanently. Orchestras are moving into these areas largely out of necessity. The commercial classical recording industry, as it was configured in its late-20th-century heyday, is vastly diminished, and there is little money to be made in the business. The New York Philharmonic, for instance, a giant of the recording industry in the Leonard Bernstein years, has not had a long-term contract with a commercial label for a decade. But orchestras have always needed recordings as marketing tools. Records spread their fame and bestow their musical interpretations on a worldwide audience.” Wakin goes on to examine CD recordings, digital music stores, and streaming options from the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and Vienna Philharmonic.

Posted April 2, 2010