No Naxos release topped 5,000 sales last year

No Naxos release topped 5,000 sales last year


norman lebrecht

February 07, 2017

The latest stats from Klaus Heymann, founder of the budget classical label:

‘CD sales are not holding,’ Heymann said. ‘In 2015, we had seven new releases that sold more than 10,000. In 2016, not a single release sold more than 5000. There’s still a stable market that buys 2000–4000 of everything. I am confident there will be CDs for another 5 or maybe 10 years. But the times of substantial sales are gone.

‘I also think that downloading will shrink or shrivel. Our iTunes figures went down 30% from the year before. Streaming is making good money for people with vast catalogs who can build playlists, but it’s not doing anything for album sales. People aren’t listening to albums as much as single tracks.’

Read the full interview here.

See also: Naxos stops streaming.



  • Will Duffay says:

    So if there will be CDs for another 5 or 10 years, downloading will shrink or shrivel and streaming doesn’t work for albums…what’s the future of classical music records?

  • John says:

    The key for classical and jazz Music is the human component un curating and endorsing music recordings, like it was and also still is done in selected radio stations. The crew selected for ARKIV Jazz is without doubt qualified to do this, recruiting the experts mentioned in the article is a wise decision. No algorithms and automated software can match this combination of taste, know-how and emotional involvement. Music taste is something which is very individual.
    When APPLE Music and SPOTIFY have understood this, they may be able to provide
    a reasonable service, which of course will never match the personal endorsement of an expert in a record shop. It´s about People !!!! Computers have no taste and empathy.

  • Robert Roy says:

    ‘Classical Music’ is not being taught in schools and so young people have no idea what their missing. Inevitably, this is going to be reflected in sales of the genre. Us oldies can’t sustain the market any more which is why sales are going down.

  • Fred says:

    Several of the naxos releases have no use. Issuing complete operas of which several (if not all) other versions exist with far better singers than today’s opera world can provide.

    I still buy Naxos releases but only of those operas/operettas (or repertoire) which haven’t been done before as in the palazzo bruzane releases.

    There’s still a market out there for that kind of stuff but who wants another Ring with inferior singers????

    • Nik says:

      I think today’s opera world can provide excellent singers, but that aside, you’ve got it exactly right. There is only a tiny minority of fanatics who own many different records of the same works and are still hungry for new ones. The majority of people who enjoy classical music are very happy to own the Solti Ring and the Bernstein Mahler box set. They simply don’t care if Naxos or DG brings out yet another new recording of the same music, no matter how good it is.

    • Jean says:

      “who wants another Ring with inferior singers????”

      For you Matthias Goerne and Michelle DeYoung are “inferior” ? Wow.

  • John says:

    I’m 71, I’ve got over 3,000 of everything I want, and like CDs, I might not be around in 10-15 years. Guess I’m good for the duration! That’s selfish thinking, I know, but you start to get that way when you have more years behind you than you have ahead. (Grin)

  • Hans van der Zanden says:

    In ten years time or so there will will be small memory things – disk, stick, whatever – so powerful that they may contain all music ever recorded, probably also included all books and films and so on. One can only wonder how this will affect marketing…

  • Alexander says:

    …an interesting statistics … 21st century is a postindustrial society so there should be some changes in their marketing policy. Creativity and innovation are on the top of agenda. I have some ideas on how to improve the situation with classical music sales, it is more about fresh approach to a traditional ( who can say they are traditional any more?) offering, than about the content.
    There were a few key facts on what people prefer today in this topic – they should use them first and try to look at the problem from a different point of view. Actually to create a new disc cover or put it on sale in an unusual place is not a problem at all ( and so on)…. there are some other simple things for them to do and I bet they will ( any way ) sell more than 5000 copies of what they release ( each item) for sure , even in a month 😉 ….
    P.S. For me the problem is in their ( Naxos) attitude to classical releases. If one doesn’t want to concern oneself with such trifles – nothing will help to improve those sales . Just my opinion, of course.

    • Jean says:

      “Actually to create a new disc cover or put it on sale in an unusual place is not a problem at all ( and so on)…. there are some other simple things for them to do and I bet they will ( any way ) sell more than 5000 copies of what they release ( each item) for sure , even in a month ….”

      Can you please let me know about these “simple things” ? You mean putting a naked woman on the cover ?

      • Alexander says:

        No, dear Jeanne, naked persons on a cover are of convergent thinking, they should use divergent way of thinking in every possible ( and decent) way. If marketing is of 4 Ps ( some say about 7 ones) – they should take into account the first two of those 4 Ps ( place and product, we won’t consider price and skip promotion for later times).
        I am not their marketing consultant to do all their job here , so let me leave that for them…..
        P.S. Sorry for not answering earlier, I just don’t track my old comments usually ( unless I am interested in those much)…. have a nice day 😉

  • Dave says:

    Any music artist should understand by now, there is no money to be made in downloads, streaming or CDs. You better be able to play your instrument live if you wish to make a living in the music field.

  • Alvaro says:

    Looks like dumpsters are finally getting filling up! Good news for the planet and the environment!

  • Jorge Grundman says:

    It seems that a CD is turning in short to a digital business card for a musician or a composer. If there are not CD sales, the recording sound will be turning worst. So recording studios will shut down. But there is also another important side effect. If there are no CDs there will not be press reviews, so …

    Are we the last mohicans of the classical music?

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    CDs provide high sound quality and durability. There are very few new recordings of the traditional classical repertoire that are worth buying if you already have a dozen excellent reference recordings of the past, and very few if any of these is being issued by Naxos. New music or previously unrecorded old music is the solution for the recording industry. Crossover is not a solution, or is rather a problem (when some great people like Maurizio Pollini and a few others are gone, goodbye Deutsche Grammophon & Co.).

    By the way, of the new versions of “standard” repertoire I am enthusiastically buying every new installment of Beethoven’s complete string quartet cycle by the Quartetto di Cremona, released by an independent German label (Audite) that is distributed just by… Naxos.