Sunday, August 29, 2010

Gramophone gives up on CDs

Cover CDs, that is. Editor James Inverne has been looking for a way to fuck up the cover CD ever since he took the job several years ago - talking over the musical extracts, "great composers" podcasts, really short excerpts, and so on - but he's finally decided to just ditch the thing altogether.
Oh! Wait, sorry, I'm coming at this from the wrong angle. Let's start again.
Exciting news from Gramophone! The magazine is soon to launch the Gramophone Player on its web site, promising longer excerpts from the Editor's Choice discs, complete recordings, video, and the like. This is to replace the cover disc. I'm in two minds about this. The disc, as I've said before, isn't as valuable as it used to be, but then again I tend not to listen to music online: my "using the computer" habit is not really connected to my "listening to music properly" habit. Inverne tries a little rhetorical gambit in his blurb for the Player that actually serves to highlight my preferred option: "Have you ever felt that our cover-mounted CD doesn’t contain enough music? Have you, like many of us, wished there was space on the disc for longer excerpts? Even complete performances?" Well, if there are 10 Editor's Choice discs and one Gramophone Collection disc, that makes for 11 tracks, which over an 80-minute disc allows for very healthy excerpts and would, I think, be a fine thing. But it doesn't work like that, unfortunately, with those 11 tracks generally comprising much less than half the disc. I assume they've market-tested everything and explored all the options and nobody agrees with me. No doubt there are other Gramophone readers who are experiencing erections just thinking about the possibility of three hours' worth of excerpts and "treasurable complete archival recordings". A bunch of questions remain as to what this Player is going to involve, which will certainly affect whether I end up using it: will you need to install something on your computer? will the monthly excerpts be available always or will it be a this-month-only sort of thing? will the sound quality be good enough that you can simply connect your PC's earphone socket to your PC's mic socket and hit "record" on your music editing software to get all that music for free?
The bigger picture is more interesting, though. To get full enjoyment from Gramophone, you'll now need to go online. Given that the magazine's archives are now available on the site, and there's some web content that doesn't appear in the magazine, the Gramophone Player seems like another step on the road to a web-only publication. Will the print version survive until 2023, the magazine's centenary?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Heh heh. Great composters.