This just in from Eric Dingman, president of EMI Classics:
I’d like to add some points for the discussion…
Perhaps useful to remember that the % swings dramatically in years when major Classic releases happen because of the relative small size of classics %-wise in USA. This indicates that there can be broader interest than the prevailing 2 – 2.5%
South Korea’s reputed 18% classics share of sales relates to the physical product sales which in SK are now only 50% of total music sales; within digital sales classics in SK is almost 0% – at total effective market share for Classics of 9% so opportunity to get ‘digital’!
The retail challenge for Classics (like that for Jazz) is that with a larger number of titles each selling smaller quantities versus same for Pop, Classics either needs a higher price to generate similar return per square metre of retail shelf space or it looses its shelf space first in favour of titles that turn faster & generate more revenue for the retailer (Pop, Films, Games).
Over the past 10 years as Classics prices reduced to drive sales (campaigning, introduction of more budget series), the margins the genre offers retailers has progressively declined and thus accelerated this negative trend. Good news is that there has been strong steady growth of digital and home delivery (physical) for Classics in most major markets; Amazon is now world’s largest buyer of Classical music, followed by iTunes.
Also on the positive side – and based on the belief that there is no shortage of great classical talent, and that music lovers can still be ‘won over’ to classics, I see the opportunity as:
a) labels, & venues making better, more effective connections to classical music lovers (eg which channels, marketing works best in these changing circumstances); and
b) creative, relevant and eye catching ways to introduce ‘true’ classical artists and repertoire to new audiences (versus assuming they will only respond to ‘cross-over) or thinking these new fans will simply walk into the opera house on their own.
To me the 10,000 people in
NL adds: It’s late at night so I won’t append a commentary, but Eric has added a good measure of clarity to the debate and I’ll be happy to return to it as comments continue to come in.