Creative Scotland’s Archer resigns

Creative Scotland’s Archer resigns

Creative Scotland chief executive Janet Archer, is leaving after five years in the role.

Kampfner stands down from Fed

Kampfner stands down from Fed

John Kampfner has stood down as chief executive of the Creative Industries’ Federation, which he founded four years ago with Sir John Sorrell.

Audience agency in Scotland closes

Audience agency in Scotland closes

Axe falls after Creative Scotland grant cut

Site making its Steel City mark

Site making its Steel City mark

Sheffield’s Site Gallery is to reopen with three times the space, and a new mission with a new artistic director, it was announced today.

Ground rules set for Brexit culture deal

Ground rules set for Brexit culture deal

The government’s Brexit white paper has set out a basis to ensure artists’ mobility between the UK and Europe after Brexit.

Battersea Arts Centre heralds reopening with Trump protest

Battersea Arts Centre heralds reopening with Trump protest

Three years since Battersea Arts Centre’s great hall burnt down, it is pre-empting it autumn opening today with a defiant message for Donald Trump https://www.bac.org.uk.

TAITMAIL   What, me worry, when Mr Wright has come along?

TAITMAIL What, me worry, when Mr Wright has come along?

Who is Jeremy Wright, the headlines on Tuesday were asking.  For me, he bears an unnerving likeness to Mad Magazine’sAlfred E Neuman (a kind of 1960s Forrest Gump who only ever said “What, me worry?”), but he was the Attorney General and is now the seventh Secretary State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport since 2010.

Dulwich to get a Colour Palace

Dulwich to get a Colour Palace

Dulwich Picture Gallery in South London is to get a “Colour Palace” for its gardens next summer.

Shakespeare Schools wins Japanese arts prize

Shakespeare Schools wins Japanese arts prize

The Shakespeare Schools Foundation has won £33,000 in the Japan Art Association’s Praemium Imperiale 2018 awards.

Matthew Bourne’s tours to go green

Matthew Bourne’s tours to go green

Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures dance company is to collaborate with environmental sustainability agency Julie’s Bicycle to creative a creative green certificate for touring.

Arts centre plan for Reading Gaol

Arts centre plan for Reading Gaol

Councillors in Reading are backing a plan to turn the town’s famous jail into an arts centre.

New culture secretary appointed

New culture secretary appointed

Kenilworth MP and former Attorney General Jeremy Wright MP is the latest Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport .

New 'Netflix for the arts' to launch

A company has announced plans to to set up a vesrion of Netflix for the arts.

Creative Europe impact on UK bigger than €74m spend

Creative Europe impact on UK bigger than €74m spend

Two reports out today show that since 2014 the European art development fund, Creative Europe, has spent €74m on 334 UK-based organisations and companies and helped distribute 145 British films in other European countries, but the impact has been worth far more.

Historic London swings

Historic London swings

London’s landmarks have been put to music in the latest phase of the Musicity project, devised to bring a new dimension to familiar architecture.

Boom in book adaptation earnings

Boom in book adaptation earnings

The value to the economy of film, television and theatre adaptations of books is soaring, according to a new report from the Publishers Association – thanks to our copyright laws.

National gets rare Gentileschi self-portrait

National gets rare Gentileschi self-portrait

A self-portrait by Artemisia Gentileschi, who broke the glass ceiling for female artists in 17thcentury Florence, has been acquired by the National Gallery for £3.6m.

Horniman Museum goes greener

Horniman Museum goes greener

The Horniman Museum in South London has ditched its café’s plastic utensils for plant-based coffee cups to sandwich wrappers in an effort to go greener https://www.horniman.ac.uk.

MY STORY Going with the stream

Signum Records, the classical music label, is 20 years old next month, and in an era when recording companies have been disappearing with regularity, it has sold more than 750,000 CDs and released more than 500 new recordings at a current rate of 50 a year, distributed to 30 countries. Its managing director is Steve Long

How and why did Signum begin? Signum was set up by Floating Earth as a natural extension of what the company was doing already. Floating Earth was set up in 1987 to offer audio engineering services to the classical music sector and within two years we had expanded to include production and post production services. By 1991 we were offering executive production services coming up with recording ideas to the established major and indie labels, and if there was interest then we would make the recordings and license them to the labels – we did about 60 recordings this way.

We were approached by artists (Chapelle du Roi) who wanted to record the complete works of Thomas Tallis on nine discs and we quickly worked out that the way to make this commercially viable was to set up a joint venture company, and so Signum was born. After only a couple of years the company expanded to be an early music label and within five years it was developed into a general classical label.

How did you become involved and what is your background?I was an amateur percussionist and studied economics
at university. I’d met Mike Hatch (engineer at Floating Earth and Grammy Award winner) in about 1978 through playing percussion and we both ended up at the same university. After graduating Mike started freelancing as a recording engineer, but in the late 80s with the invention of the CD there was a huge amount of recording work available with established labels re-recording everything digitally, and new labels such as Collins Classics and Virgin Classics emerging, so it was an exciting time. It was clear that there was a place for a new company to cover such work, and Floating Earth was born.

You have not only survived through the recessionand a digital revolution, you have flourished. How? Being small and flexible has been the key, we are able to adapt very quickly to changes in the market and having our own technical facilities has certainly helped. We are not averse to change and in fact quite the opposite –
 I think change presents opportunities and we have embraced each new format as it has come along.

Classical music has often been portrayed as struggling to keep audiences and appeal to younger listeners. Is it, and if so what can it do about it? This has always been said, but I don’t believe it’s as true now as it has been in the past. If you look at the recently published statistics from Classic FM about their listeners (1.2m of CFM’s 5.8m annual listeners are under 35) it would seem that they are attracting a younger audience. With streaming being the format of choice for youngsters, they are able to access classical music at no extra cost via their subscription services, so there is no barrier to entry here. Access and convenience are key factors here and ownership isn’t considered that important.

Twenty years ago there was a much simpler array of formats for you to work on. What media are you releasing on now, and is this proliferation a curseor a blessing?We will release on any format that is appropriate. Right now the major format is CD, followed by streaming and then downloading, however we have also released DVDs, SACDs, Blu-Rays and even an LP. For each of these last four formats they have been appropriate for the content, but all our audio releases come out on CD and are also available for streaming and downloading.

How important to Signum has streaming been? Streaming has been important to us for a good few years now and is our second highest source of revenue after CDs. I can see that within the next five years it will be our single biggest revenue source – perhaps even within three years. We love streaming, it is the format of choice for the vast majority of music consumers and isn’t going to go away, and much of the classical industry needs to accept that and work with it, not against it. We have some tracks that have been streamed tens of millions of times and the revenue from these is significant.
We are also seeing core classical repertoire as being actively streamed with full works and not just popular one off tracks
that are on specific playlists.

Is Signum at the forefront of a new generation of classical music labels?
 I like to think so. With new deals available with musicians (particularly orchestras and opera companies) there are fewer barriers to entry and being small and versatile means we are able to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself to us.

Is contemporary classical music becoming more popular?
 Some of it is for sure, but not all.
The music still needs to be good and relatively accessible for it to succeed but we find many of our contemporary releases are amongst our bestsellers.

Classical music is an expensive artform. What does the industry needto do now to safeguard its future? Attending top concerts and operas can
be expensive but accessing classical music doesn’t need to be with streaming, and there are lots of good amateur performances out there to attend more cheaply. Putting on top quality concerts and operas is expensive but so is making films and staging football games, so we actually need to promote classical music as being accessible and not elitist and build our future audiences that way.

 

 

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