Monday, August 20, 2007

Classical Music on iTunes

I don't have an iPod, and so I don't have iTunes, but a friend does, and she's not having much success finding classical music on iTunes. Alex Ross posted some time ago that 13% of iTunes downloads are classical - presumably the 100 selections, plus Bocelli and his ilk, are not responsible for that number.

What are the correct search terms for finding interesting classical music on iTunes? I seem to recall that, among other things, there are LA Phil performances from the Minimalist series John Adams curated there.


David Toub said...

They're there, but one does need to search. There is some nice Scelsi there, and a reasonable amount of the more mainstream minimalist composers. No special search terms are needed---just search on Steve Reich, for example, and a bunch of things do come up. Still, it would be great to see more independent labels here. And stuff that isn't represented by a label would also be nice. My podcast is there along with my one commercial release, but I couldn't get iTunes to distribute my free downloads. So for now, the only place to get all of that is my own site.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Thank you, thank you. Evidently my friend was clicking a button or link labeled classical, and the results were, ah, minimal.

Scelsi! That is getting esoteric.

M. C- said...

i haven't had much trouble finding classical music on itunes. what is it your friend is looking for? for example, typing in los angeles philharmonic brings up the most commonly purchased tracks, and then clicking on Los Angeles Philharmonic on the upper right under "ARTISTS" brings up all albums by the LA Phil, including the DG digital releases.

Also, I don't know how this appears on other people's homepages but I have a tab at the very top under the banner under NEW RELEASES that says "Classical." This yields a number of recent classical releases, including the Dudamel Bartok Concerto for Orch with the LA Phil that was a DG digital release.

It is true that it is not a source for independent label releases and self-released projects. iTunes receives its content from labels, not artists.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Thank you! I have passed along your comments.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Just so you know I've heard that the UK label Chandos Records is going live on itunes in October. Should be a good catalogue to start exploring.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Heck, yes. Chandos has a huge and interesting catalog.

Steve said...

I'll be very interested to see the price point Chandos picks for selling its discs on iTunes. Chandos has actually been selling its releases as digital downloads for some time now via its own website; I just bought an entire CD's worth of files on Tuesday, priced at 8 pounds 40, or U.S. $16.83. Convenient, but not especially economical.

Lisa, your friend might also want to check into an eMusic subscription. (Disclaimer: I write jazz CD reviews for them on occasion). There's a whole lot of classical and contemporary music to be had there via indie-label releases, including a great deal of Chandos, pretty much the entire Naxos catalog, and new-music specialists like Lovely Music and XI. Worth a look.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Thank you again!

Henry Holland said...

Wait. People still *pay* for music? [scampers off to file theft service]

What I find frustrating is organizing stuff on iTunes so I don't have 14 Schreker folders, it's a pain when a complete opera will have 20+ cue points (tracks) x 3 CD's, it's a pain in the butt to keep that organized so that it plays in order without having to manually go from file to file.

I was worried my 80G iPod was going to fill up quickly but it's taken me almost 3 months of downloading a bunch of my CD collection on a fairly regular basis to get it almost packed. I have all the mature Wagner, a lot of Strauss, all of Schreker (sometimes two performances), all of Puccini's stuff, some Verdi, all of Aulis Sallinen's wonderful operas and a bunch of one-offs like King Roger or Die Vogel; that's not to mention all the orchestral stuff and all my rock/pop and jazz stuff.

I love my iPod.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Ahahaha, yes, some people still pay for music!

So, my good friend Matt, whose musical tastes are like yours and mine, used to work for Apple, and he filed a bug against iTunes because it makes organizing classical music so painful. He told me recently that Apple has introduced some changes that make that task easier in some ways, but iTunes is still not idea.

Me, I'm an iPod holdout. Mostly, I don't need the ability to choose from my whole collection at all times and places, and I don't have the time/energy to digitize my collection.

Classical Music Concert Listings said...

Sadly classical music is not the main focus of online music even today