Phillip Sommerich

Classical:NEXT 2016: opening – report from annual conference

9:25, 26th May 2016

Deutsche Grammophon is partnering with Apple Music to tackle one of the key challenges for classical music: gainining visibility in the vast digital space of the worldwide web, Clemens Trautmann, president of the Germany-based label, announced at the opening of the Classical:NEXT congress in Rotterdam.

Anticipating an official announcement on 27 May, he said DG would curate nine playlists on dedicated Apple Music pages ‘that will present upcoming tracks of future album releases’.

The lists would be updated by DG staff ‘to create a prime destination for experienced followers as well as new listeners’.

‘Ultimately it is DG’s mission to serve as the lighthouse of quality in the vast ocean of digital content as the yellow label brand has served for 180 years in the physical world.’

He stressed that it was more important to ‘follow through with a fresh idea than just conceiving it’.  DG, he said, did not regard itself now as just a recording company but a force in live music, publishing, education ‘and anything that serves our listeners’.

His concluding advice to the industry: ‘Stay tuned, stay hungry and stay paranoid, because as we know, only the paranoid will survive.’

A speech from the head of a major label is a coup for Classical:NEXT, which in its fifth year has seen a 10% annual rise in registration even before its opening, to more than 1,000 delegates from 45 countries.

The opening ceremony was hosted by Dutch Performing Arts which, with typical humour, titled its showcase of artists and speakers Dutch Mountains.

In a video address, Michael Tilson Thomas said in the current era classical music was not as celebrated as other forms of music, but it remained in unique in trying to project thought as a balance between mind and spirit.

Producer Beth Morrison said one of the key challenges to delegates was to bring classical music to a younger audience, through interaction with other art forms and by bringing performance to that audience at venues such as black-box theatres and clubs.

Click here for:
Report from day one
Report from day two
Report from day three

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