October 7, 2007


A No-Frills Label Sings to the Rafters (ANNE MIDGETTE, 10/07/07, NY Times)

WHEN Naxos started issuing recordings in the late 1980s, the releases seemed to trumpet their budget-label status with a no-frills design: the CDs, with their chunky type, white ground and small picture at the bottom, are distinctly unbeautiful. No great cover art, no big-name artists: it was all about the music.

The music has won. Naxos has by now upgraded the design of some marquee releases, like the Brahms symphony cycle conducted by Marin Alsop. More important, it has shown an uncanny ability to sell tens of thousands of its old, clunky-looking CDs, many by unknown artists and of increasingly offbeat repertory, like violin concertos by the Chevalier de Saint-Georges or Samuel Barber. (Each has sold more than 50,000 copies to date.) And this in a market traditionally centered on superstar musicians, and in a climate in which many classical releases are lucky to have sales in the hundreds.

Bucking conventional wisdom has made Naxos not only a successful classical record label, but also, within the last few years, a profitable one.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 7, 2007 6:50 AM
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