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<<  -- 2 --  Bernard Coutaz    STRANGE PARADOX


Certainly, there are plenty of senior citizens in the audience but, contrary to popular belief, young people and children are also interested in classical music.

At the aforementioned 'Folles Journées de Nantes' there were 3,000 children and adolescents, from primary school upwards, and people of 25 and under represented 30% of the total audience.

At the Cité de la Musique, according to a study which has just been published, half those who come are less than 34 years old.

The paradox is this: the other way of hearing classical music, i.e., by listening to recordings, is decreasing at an alarming rate. From 11% only 5 years ago sales of classical music recordings now only represent 6% of the overall sales of records in France. Does this mean that music lovers prefer going to concerts rather than listening to discs? Certainly not!

At the 'Folles Journées de Nantes', for the last three years, it is noticeable that the audience takes advantage of the intervals to buy large quantities of recordings. Why? Quite simply because people no longer have the opportunity to look at, touch and listen to recordings in record shops, many of which have closed down.

Why is this? Because the sale of classical recordings is no longer considered to be profitable enough for investors. And this is nothing new. But the dominance of the major record labels only exacerbates this phenomenon.

The publication of books, flourishing today, was and still is controlled by publishers who are more interested in the quality of their products than their appetite for profits.

Recordings, which are relatively recent, haven't been made so much by enthusiastic producers as by people who, ever since the days of LP, have looked at their development in terms of profit. Truly it wasn't their interest in music which guided them and that, from the launch of the LP, has resulted in prices which were based more on length than content; a disc of solo guitar music on a 30cm disc cost more than a concerto on a 25cm record (like saucepans!).

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Copyright © 11 April 2001 Bernard Coutaz, Arles, France





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