The Naxos
Composer of the Month

In July, Naxos released its recording of Roy Harris’s Symphonies 3 and 4, part of a complete cycle of the composer’s symphonies.  

Roy HARRIS: Symphony No. 3 and No. 4, “Folk Song Symphony”
Colorado Symphony and Chorus, Marin Alsop

CD of the Month

Toru TAKEMITSU: A Flock Descends into the Pentagonal Garden, etc.
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop

Roy Harris: Symphonies 3 and 4
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John Tavener: Lament for Jerusalem
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Classical Music Spotlight presents a special interview with Maestro Leonard Slatkin
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William Bolcom's Songs of Innocence and of Experience
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Wednesday, September 06, 2006
MPkey: New Ways of Using Digital Downloading

Last weekend, the Wall Street Journal published an article by Jacob Hale Russell on MPkey, a new series of downloadable classical music collections from Naxos of America and the independent digitial music service eMusic that are available exclusively at Borders stores until December 1st.

Each MPkey release contains liner notes and track listings, but no CD: instead, there is a card with a web address and a pass code and instructions on how to download the album. Three-hour MPkeys retail at $14.99 and six-hour versions have an SRP of $19.99. As pointed out on the blog, this works out to as low as $3.33 for each hour of music.

In his Journal article, Jacob notes that one of the goals of MPkey is to entice people to "to jump the digital divide" with the low price and the accoutrements of a CD. The Digital Audio Insider wonders if this process could work in reverse for independent musicians: instead of giving the liner notes and the packaging up front, offer them as a premium for buying the downloads.

The Digital Audio Insider is contemplating how to add value to the download but offering free stuff after the purchase could also be a way to start the communication process with a listener. It's possible to offer up discounted tickets to concerts (buy the download, receive an e-mail with a code to redeem the offer) or offer online access to live concert recordings or previously-unreleased material. It would be interesting to hear of how people have used these techniques or how they have run up against problems.