Nowhere to go

Nowhere to go


norman lebrecht

May 30, 2007

A letter from an artists management agency in Los Angeles provides an accurate diagnosis:
Like many of even the best young musicians today, ‘x’ and ‘y’ are caught between eras in the music recording industry. Corporations like EMI and Sony will not offer them contracts… Gone is the time when music labels felt responsible to support and present the next generation of musical masters.
Without a doubt, concert artists need high-quality commercial recordings available in lobbies or music stores associated with their concert halls. Audiences expect to see professionally produced albums of these artists and they expect the artists to greet them and sign albums. Self-produced albums from the same musicians do not have the same effect. They sometimes make the artists look more amateur
So what to do? This particular agency, Yarlung Artists, has launched its own label as a stop-gap. Other artists and orchestras deliver performances for free to cottage labels in the hope of gaining the oxygen of general distribution. Others still huddle their own-label efforts under such discreet and helpful umbrellas as Avie Records.
Few of these enterprises make it to front of store where the decrepit major labels use muscle and money to obtain prime position for crossover signings. Entering a record store these days is a dispiriting experience.
What is to be done? I guess the small and self producers need to agglomerate in some way, buy themselves some time with a good PR and start acting like they believe in the product.
Any better ideas?


  • Baz says:

    What is to be done?
    Simple. We all do what we believe in.
    If you wake up each morning with a desire to record music, to get listeners to connect with the music you believe in, that’s what you will do.
    And if you have enough money to throw at the task, enough ruthlesness and energy to gather enough fellow believers to make things happen, you will end up with a record company.
    And if you’re eg the late Ted Perry, Alan Bates, David Finckel, Oliver Weindling or Manfred Eicher, then most people will end up believing you know what you are doing.

  • Ihnsouk Guim says:

    Send them to for online sale?

  • Ihnsouk Guim says:

    We could have an online listening station. Musicians can submit their recordings to a panel of judges or a group of refrees made of peers to be posted on line for general public to listen and buy. Much the way scholarly research is published in scientific communities.
    Going on line will help reach the largest audience and keep the cost low, both of which classical music recording industry needs.

  • Ihnsouk Guim says:

    Rereading my earlier entry about an online listening station, what I meant was that anyone could submit their playing. It will go through a selection process, a peer review type before being played on the station. It will lend some credibility to the entry. It is much easier than landing on a recording contract. Listeners don’t have to depend on record labels for what they get to hear. Performers have an oppotunity to be heard without going through grueling competitions or an impossible manager. Deatails can be worked out to find the right direction to pursue.
    Personally, I don’t see why not being on the front of a recording store is a problem. I rarely get to visit one.

  • Donald Clarke says:

    We do get world-class artists touring through central Iowa, and there are always CDs for sale at the gigs, always on labels I have never heard of. Most recently these include the Leipziger Streichquartet on MDG, and the Claremont Trio, three pretty girls who (somewhat to my surprise, I’m ashamed to say) played the hell out of the Shostakovich Trio Op. 67, on Tria Records. Performers will have to make their own work available, and many of them have been doing it for years. After all, in the digital era it is easier than ever. And maybe it will be better than being tied up with the egos at a major label, as they once were.