How much is a recording worth?
The very label behind this recording, Deutsche Grammophon, has now unveiled what not only a century but even a decade ago would have seemed unthinkable: a streaming app called DG Discovery that grants access to 450 albums for just £2.49 a month. The annual price is £24.99.
That being said, a free version of the app only teases listeners with 30-second clips. And both the free and paid stream versions include invitations to purchase albums on iTunes (for those who want to ‘own’ copies once the subscription time runs out).
The temptation might be hard to resist for classical music lovers who, with the quick entry of their Apple password, can stream or purchase the albums of 80 different artists – from Karajan to Barenboim, Aimard to Zimerman (whose 1985 recording of the Brahms Piano Concerto No 2 with the Vienna Philharmonic under Leonard Bernsteinis an ‘Editor’s Choice’). Programme notes; the date, place and format of a recording; and virtual albums covers are all at one’s fingertips.
The app will gradually increase its selection by 20 to 40 albums a month and roll out weekly playlists. The experience is naturally networked with Facebook, where users can share their activity, and DG didn’t forget to include an entry point to its own website.