Dudamel's DG Grammy winner – no plans for release

Dudamel's DG Grammy winner – no plans for release


norman lebrecht

February 14, 2012

My sources at Universal/DG say that, despite winning a Grammy, there are no plans to release Gustavo Dudamel’s Brahms 4th on CD.

It will remain exclusively an iTunes product – the first Grammy winner, perhaps, to be totally virtual.



  • Dr. Marc Villeger says:

    Next they may not even record it and get a Grammy…

  • James Brinton says:

    …And therefore, from my perspective, totally inaudible. Just a ghost in the machine.
    Pay your damned musicians, LAP.

    • Anon says:

      Eh? What are the economics of this?
      A CD copy simply won’t sell sufficient numbers to recoup the additional fees the LAP players (or their union) demand for the rights to publish such; so why bother?
      If the LAP players want the recording to be issued on CD, they should consider just accepting a royalty, or lowering their cost barrier to make this happen. After all, there’s no further effort required from them whatsoever now that the recording has been made.
      There’s a reason very few recordings have been made with US orchestras over the last decade: they charge far too much.

      Mind, digital iTunes release does mean that the recording is available at the world’s biggest digital retailer in a format that the majority of music-buyers are comfortable with. The only thing that not releasing on CD – at the costs LAP players put in the way – means is that DG (and LAP centrally, perhaps) don’t make a massive loss. Not making a loss equates to the ability to fund further recordings with other artists. What’s not to like?

      • Steve de Mena says:

        iTunes is the world’s biggest music retailer, period. Not just the world’s biggest “digital retailer”.

        A recording made for CD release often has a patch-up session too, to re-record some parts where there was no decent coverage at the concerts. These “DG Concerts” releases are just that, culled from the concerts only. No patchup sessions or rehearsals to pull from.

        Another option to release CDs is to release them on a vanity label of their own, like the CSO, SFS and others do. These usually contain credits in them thanking individuals or foundations for support, so not sure if any money is actually made by the musicians.

  • Bill Ecker says:

    The question is, what was Dudamel paid for the release?

  • James Brinton says:

    What is antediluvian about the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. And why shouldn’t the musicians be paid?

    • Anon says:

      Of course the musicians should be paid. No-one is saying they shouldn’t.
      But if you want a product issued as a CD, and if the musicians wish to charge so much for that as to make the economics unviable, then it won’t be released as a CD. SImple as.

      In the current situation, the musicians have been paid whatever their collective bargaining agreement allows for them to be paid for the download arrangement. So far so good.
      …However, clearly some consumers feel this is not good enough and would prefer a CD; either the consumers need to be prepared en masse to pay far more for a CD, or the players need to be prepared to accept a lower additional sum (again, it’s not like issuing this on CD involves any additional work whatsoever for the players now they have played the notes) to allow this to happen. Else it ain’t gonna be a CD, and will remain “inaudible, a ghost in the machine” for you.

  • Sixtus says:

    I might point out that DG’s decision might even be the result of an artistic decision, not purely economical. From what I’ve heard in online previews, the Dudamel Brahms4th is not nearly as interesting as other noteworthy performances, not least the legendary one on DG conducted by Carlos Kleiber, on which one’s iTunes money might be better spent. This wouldn’t be the first time classical-Grammy voters have made a baffling choice. Then again, I haven’t heard any of the other nominees and Dudamel’s recording may indeed have been the best of the bunch.


  • markrwinn says:

    Is it because the recording is actually quite poor, just like all his other non youth orchestra stuff?? An example of hype over actual talent more like!!