At the Munich Music Days organized by Naxos with the Naxos labels as well as labels distributed by Naxos and its subsidiaries, Naxos founder and chairman Klaus Heymann made a cautiously optimistic statement about the market of recorded classical music. Certainly, he said, downloads are down, except for audiobooks and HD files, but streaming is up dramatically, without however providing enough revenues. Heymann said, streaming providers should re-evaluate their payments in order to allow labels no get viable revenues from this activity.

As a label, Naxos has stabilized its physical CD sales, yet the revenue is also not sufficient to produce new releases. It’s only when considering the market as a whole and possibly generating new revenues that a classical label can survive. « I would not like to speak about a crisis », Heymann said, « but about a near-crisis, and we definitely must turn this near-crisis into an opportunity. »

His views were shared by Astrid Angvik, who at Naxos runs the day-to-day business, leaving 80 year-old Klaus Heymann the opportunity « to think and to come to conclusions about the market ».

« Strong together » is Astrid Angvik’s motto, and this could not have been better underlined than by the report of Naxos’s highly successful subsidiary Naxos Global Logistics in Germany, which nowadays distributes over 200 classical labels, running a warehouse with over 7 million units in stock and shipping in the high season between 2000 and 3000 parcels per day to national distributors and, more and more, to retailers. NGL is in constant growth.

National figures coming from various countries showed how individual these markets can be.

In Germany, the third largest music market in the world, classical music is still a strong market with 90% of physical sales and 10% of digital sales. This can be explained by a market of rather old customers.

In the United Kingdom classical CD sales are further down by 19%, but the Naxos company Select Music UK registered a growth of +10% of physical sales, and this is likely to be continued in 2017 with also +5% in the first four months of the year. Streaming is up by 41%.

America continues to be a very difficult market with a minus of 3% in physical sales and a plus of 12% in digital sales.

Japan has still strong presence of mega-stores for recorded music and the physical CD has 48% of the market. Non-physical sales have a market share of 52%. Among the physical records, the SACD is very popular in Japan, showing that the Japanese listener of classical music is keen on listening in the best possible audio environment.

Naxos China is now operational since one year and struggles with the governmental censorship. Yet, they slowly begin to open the market for imports, especially on the occasion of artist tours with related signing sessions. Naxos China will also help more and more labels linked to the Naxos Group to develop sales via CDs being manufactured in China.

Finally, at this information session, the Naxos Group also presented the Naxos awards.

Distributor of the Year 2916 is Naxos Japan. Label of the Year is the Russian label Melodiya, distributed by Naxos. A special mention went to BIS for its high quality releases.

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