Naxos Music Library

By Quist, Ned; Scott, Darwin F. et al. | Notes, December 2004 | Go to article overview

Naxos Music Library


Quist, Ned, Scott, Darwin F., McLane, Alec, Notes


Naxos Music Library (Internet music resource). Naxos Digital Services Ltd. http://www.naxosmusiclibrary.com (accessed 25 August 2004). [Requires: For PC users: Microsoft Windows 98, 2000, or XP with Internet Explorer 6.0 and Media Player 9.0; for Macintosh users: OS 8.6 with Internet Explorer 5.1 and Media Player 7.1, or OS 10.2 with Internet Explorer 5.2 and Media Player 9.0. Pricing: from $750 per year for 5 simultaneous users, incrementing in steps of 5 additional users to $2500 per year for 25 simultaneous users, thereafter priced at $50 for each additional user. Willing to discuss other pricing models with large institutions and consortia.]

At the 2004 annual meeting of the Music Library Association held in Washington, DC. 11-15 February, the classical music recording label Naxos launched a streaming audio service for libraries, educational institutions, and music professionals. Some readers may remember that this is Naxos's second foray into the streaming business. The first, largely designed for individuals, was offered through the Rhapsody subscription service (http://listen.com) in 2002-3. Now, by institutional subscription, Naxos is making available its entire catalog, plus that of Marco Polo and Da Capo, of over five thousand compact discs and 85,000 tracks (as noted on the company's Web site under FAQ at http://www.naxosmusiclibrary.com/default.asp?page_name=FAQ#1 [accessed 25 August 2004]), with the exception of several historical reissues licensed from other labels. As with the Naxos line of compact discs, the price for the service is very attractive--but while it is clear that Naxos has been listening to its new potential customer base (for example, at the spring meeting of the New England chapter of the Music Library Association held in Worcester, MA, on 21 May 2004, Naxos's United States representative Heather Buettner spoke about improvements recently made to the service in direct response to input from music librarians), there remain several issues of concern for libraries.

Content

Naxos has a distinct advantage over all its competitors for the moment, in that it "owns" almost all of its content as part of the contracts negotiated with its performers. Because Naxos has consciously sought to record the widest possible array of the classical music repertory, the company offers a very deep and substantive catalog, well stocked with music by Ludwig van Beethoven (including some stellar reissues), Johannes Brahms, Johann Sebastian Bach, Franz Schubert (including most if not all of his songs), and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (including six complete operas), as well as many other composers in the canon of western art music. This content compares favorably with Naxos's competitors Classical Music Library (http://www.classical.com), and Andante.com, previously reviewed in this column (Notes 60 no. 4 [June 2004]: 1006-12). Anyone with a copy of the Naxos printed catalog knows what to expect in the data base (the online catalog can be downloaded from the Web site). Listeners have immediate access to Naxos recordings as soon as they are available before the release of the compact discs, and continue to have access to any recordings that are deleted from the compact disc catalog. In addition, several important series of recordings recently launched by Naxos become available to subscribers, such as the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music, 21st Century Classics, American Classics, Spanish Classics, and Film Music Classics.

Naxos includes several musical "genres" not found in the Andante and Classical Music Library collections, including jazz, world music, folk music, and New Age music. The jazz material appears to be mostly European in origin (Danish jazz in particular) and almost exclusively contemporary. Styles include a mix of big band, "straight ahead," and easy-listening jazz. The world music section is a mix of traditional styles, Afro-pop, and other national pop music styles, and includes Naxos's Grammy Award winner, Sacred Tibetan Chant (Naxos World 76044-2 [2003], CD). …

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