Exclusive: 'classical' music magazine to shut down

Exclusive: 'classical' music magazine to shut down


norman lebrecht

December 21, 2011

A competitor has tipped up off that Classic FM magazine is to shut down after its April issue.

Apparently, a difference of opinion between the station owners and Haymarket (who also publish Gramophone). There has been no official announcement, but the trade has been informed.


  • Ziggy says:

    Was worried there, for a moment! I’m sorry for the individuals concerned – but it’s thanks to the likes of ClassicFM that audiences increasingly find it difficult to listen to a symphony or concerto right through, & thereby understand the music’s development.

    • Daniel Jones says:

      Sad times. Will now have to settle for one of the ‘competitors’: the utterly joyless Gramophone or the completely banal BBC Music. Actually, I probably won’t bother…

      • Joep Bronkhorst says:

        Why? Their CD reviews are just as good if not better than ClassicFM and there aren’t too many journals even running quality reviews any more. Anyone who reads this blog should be doing their bit to support the dying art of music journalism in these tough times

      • Ivan Moody says:

        Do consider International Record Review, the last of the genuine independents! (I here unashamedly disclose that I write for IRR as well as for Gramophone).

        I am no particular fan of the Classic FM magazine, but any evidence of further chipping away at the availability of comment on “classical” music is disturbing.

  • Kimon Daltas says:

    Hi Norman, this is sad news indeed – but I wonder if you’d change your headline because, as the deputy editor of Classical Music magazine, I worry that anyone reading the headline alone might get the wrong impression (I had a miniature heart attack myself).

  • Mischa says:

    I must revisit the discussion about another music publication, Fanfare, after finding some interesting things in a course of Christmas shopping. Another way to describe them – a case of fraud perpetrated by a major label.
    I have been working in different fields of computer technology. In our business it is a given that we must procure reviews for our products, in order to do so we often send very expensive pieces of hardware to punks in computer magazines to play with . “The toy” is almost never sent back – it is editor’s loot to keep or to resell. If we get a positive nod and some write-up , we are happy. No money ever changes hands, you see. Once the review is out we have no control over users’ reviews. We can get a 5 star from Computing Online only to get 100s of bad reviews below the editorial. And that’s what people read and trust nowadays – user ratings.
    One thing which is a big no-no is to try and fake those user ratings. This is a sacred untouchable field .FTC busts the offenders quickly and painfully. Here is one sample:
    From USA Today November 11 , 2011 :

    “…The Federal Trade Commission has brought two deceptive-advertising cases about fake reviews in the last 14 months:

    •Nashville-based Legacy Learning Systems in March settled FTC charges that it deceptively advertised its DVDs of guitar lessons through affiliate marketers who falsely posed as users or independent reviewers.

    •A public relations firm, Reverb, hired by video game developers settled FTC charges in August 2010 that it didn’t disclose it had employees pose as ordinary consumers posting game reviews at the iTunes Store…”

    Now , you ask how is it connected to my Christmas shopping? I was browsing on iTunes when I stumbled on a familiar name in users’ reviews. I couldn’t believe my eyes, thinking it must be a malicious prank.

    Here is a sample: ( link here http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/chopin-piano-concertos/id354559194 )

    “Customer Reviews

    by Joseph Oerke
    Such beautiful pieces and played so well and fluently. Nothing forced in this performance, Rafal makes everything sing. Just wonderful.
    by Mr Boolez
    Competent at best, shallow at it’s worse. Blechacz plays the notes well but does not have the soul that these works require. There are much better offerings out there to choose from. -Bz ”

    Joseph Oerke ? Top marketing guy of DGG posting under users’ reviews – not even hiding his name , but no mention of his position ? I happen to agree with Mr. Boolez on above-mentioned recording so I searched more.

    Tibaudet review http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/gershwin-rhapsody-in-blue/id358027332

    Juja Wang http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/sonatas-etudes/id306830026

    Pavarotti album http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/pavarotti-the-duets/id294082702

    Jansen http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/beau-soir/id416152423

    The list goes on and on…only DG and Decca reviews, all super-positive…

    Please will someone tell Deutsche Grammophon to rein in their marketing team or get ready to have their bottom fried in a pan by FTC ?

    I have a simple solution for them and other labels indulging into creative marketing of this sort.

    Start producing good music and signing good musicians!