Like jazz, classical music is a sector that is often described as being under-served by the big, global streaming services, thanks to challenges including its extra layers of metadata, not to mention the length of its tracks – a half-hour performance doesn’t monetise well in a per-stream environment built for single songs.
Anyway, British industry body the BPI had some positive news for the classical sector this weekend: in the UK, combined sales and streams of classical music grew by 10.2% in 2018, compared to the 5.7% rise in overall music consumption in the UK that year. That included a trend-bucking 6.9% rise in sales of physical CDs for classical music, as well as a 42% increase in the volume of classical streams.
This is still a CD-dominated market – the format accounted for nearly 60% of classical consumption last year in the UK. The BPI suggested that more work is needed for those specific challenges, though. “If continuing structural challenges, such as around ‘search’ on streaming platforms, can be more fully addressed, for example by making it easier for users to find pieces of music online by ‘composer’, ‘conductor’, ‘orchestra’, and ‘label’ (an important consideration to knowledgeable classical buyers), then it is likely that more classical consumers may be drawn to subscription streaming services,” it suggested.