Naxos Classical I: A Snapshot of the Changing the Face of Classical Music Marketing
“ Stopping short of declaring the groundbreaking Naxos Jazz label dead, let's for a moment turn our attention to the subsidiary that made the award-winning label famous to begin with, the Classical Music section ”
In 1997 Naxos International, the budget classical music label inaugurated its Jazz subsidiary with the release of six diverse recordings . During the intervening six years, the label released 65 critically well-received discs, all which have been reviewed within these pages. Now, it appears the Naxos Jazz Label is dormant. While retaining its place on the Naxos web site, its content has no changed in over a year and appears on permanent hiatus. The label has started the Naxos Jazz Legends sub-label, which specializes in original period transcriptions by the originators of jazz but that is a matter warranting its own article.
Stopping short of declaring the groundbreaking Naxos Jazz label dead, let's for a moment turn our attention to the subsidiary that made the award-winning label famous to begin with, the Classical Music section (specifically, as the label now has several subsidiaries and multiple distributorships). For perspective of where Naxos classical stands, the Naxos set of imprints currently numbers 13. Briefly, these imprints are:
Last year, 2002, Naxos Records celebrated its 15th Anniversary. In those early days of the label, Klaus Heymann, CEO of Naxos Records, was interested in two things: (1) building a large catalog of a diverse selection of "Classical" music for (2) a reasonable price. In an interview in the Wall Street Journal, Heymann stated, "Our Business model is simple?You record things people want to buy. And you produce it, market it, distribute it, and sell it, all at a cost that lets you make a profit."
Mr. Heymann, European educated (Frankfurt University, The Sorbonne, King?s College) avoids big-named artists and orchestra, the majority of whom are under contract with the major labels. Instead, he opts for orchestras of a more regional than international reputation such as the National Symphony Orchestra of ireland, the Queensland Orchestra, and the exquisite period-instrument group, The Scholars Baroque Ensemble. The artists receive a flat-fee for their performances as opposed to royalties, instead, these artists can take advantage of the exposure they receive from the distribution Naxos provides them both in notoriety and music. This leads to these performers attaining worldwide credibility that can ultimately parlay into further funding or their artistic endeavors.