<< -- 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
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
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!).
Copyright © 11 April 2001
Bernard Coutaz, Arles, France
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