This is a more robust version of the sidebar text in The Star. An even more fleshed out essay is in the works including interviews with the respective persons in charge. It’s a fascinating new market and it would be great to hear your thoughts on these sites if you’ve tried them out.
User comments from those in the know [that means you] will give the piece an interesting angle and a good balance. Miss Mussel is particularly interested in the differences between internet and DVD watching; whether you prefer live or video on demand concerts [both online] and your thoughts on the pricing models and programming.
Basically, it’s all relevant. Without further adieu, here’s a summary of the four main players in the online concert market.
Live Concerts/year: 30
Archive: 20 & all from the 2008/09 season
Pricing: 9.90â‚¬/concert or 89â‚¬ for season subscription
Focus: All Berliner, all the time.
Tip: A subscription for the new season starting in August 2009 will cost 149â‚¬. Existing subscribers will not be cut off completely when the new season starts but The Berliner is not yet sure how they will handle archive access.
The Lowdown: Launched in January 2009, the Digital Concert Hall is the first initiative of its by a single ensemble. All the cameras are controlled remotely and work with available light in the hall, so the user experience mimics the live one very closely.
Live Concerts/year: 12
Pricing: Live concerts 6.99â‚¬ Archive is 2.99â‚¬ to 5.99â‚¬ depending on video length or 9.99â‚¬ for a All Access Monthly Pass .
Focus: The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, piano recitals, opera from around Europe
Tip: The Concertgebouw Christmas Concert is available for free.
The Lowdown: Monteverdi.tv aims to be comprehensive. In addition to concerts, the site features a host of resources about music history, genres and instruments.
Live Concerts/year: 50
Pricing: Live concerts are free.. Subscriptions for the archive are 24H & 5â‚¬, 1 month & 25â‚¬, 6 months 50â‚¬.
Focus: Verbier Festival, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Aspen Festival,
Tip: Starting in April, the monthly subscription price will be reduced to 7.99â‚¬
The Lowdown: Based in France, Medici.tv offers live concerts and an archive that includes contemporary and historical performances as well as documentaries. It is the only site to cover chamber music.
Live Concerts/year: 30+
Archive: 100+ on launch day going to 1100
Pricing: $9.99US for live events. Archive is free.
Focus: The Big Guns — The Paris Opera, The Metropolitan Opera, The English National Opera, The Bolshoi Ballet, The Dutch National Ballet, The Royal Shakespeare Company
Tip: Try out the site for free with La Bohème from the English National Opera.
The Lowdown: Classical TV is based in the UK and launches officially on 2nd March. The site aims to be the biggest and the best, concentrating its offerings on opera, ballet and theatre where the visual component is integral.
Tech: Watching concerts on your computer is good. Watching them on your television with stereo sound is even better. A DVI to S-video cable and a line in to your stereo receiver is all most people need to achieve audiovisual nirvana. If you’re not most people, a quick Google will sort you out.