Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Berliner Philharmoniker's Digital Concert Hall: a late Christmas present for classical music lovers worldwide

The radio pioneer David Sarnoff had an ego the size of the moon – anyone who would pay to have Frank Sinatra serenade him with a song with lyrics changed to reflect his accomplishments has an ego, in my opinion. But there is no doubt that Sarnoff, the founder of RCA and later NBC, was a man who accomplished a lot in his life.

One of his accomplishments was the establishment of the NBC Symphony Orchestra under the baton of conductor Arturo Toscanini. Sarnoff created the orchestra as part of his own vision to bring quality music to listeners via radio. With the entry of television, the NBC Symphony Orchestra could be seen and heard by early television set owners.

These efforts not only promoted radio, one of the reasons Sarnoff established the orchestra, but promoted classical music to the American public. Radio and television broadcasts brought listeners to the concert hall and encouraged record sales.
Today, little classical music (or jazz, for that matter) is heard on U.S. television. The result is not only more hours of low cost to produce programming, but a decrease of interest in classical music in all its forms – concert hall and CD.

It is very much up to the orchestras themselves to market their wares to the public.

This new app from the Berliner Philharmoniker not only does that, but creates a revenue stream, as well.

The Berliner Philharmoniker's Digital Concert Hall is a free app that contains plenty of free content, but it also invites classical music lovers to make purchases to watch and listen to archived and live concerts via a 7-day and 3-day ticket, priced at $10.00 and $27.99 respectively. The app also allows for voucher codes that can be give to friends to they, too, can access the content inside the app.

In addition to the concerts, there are interviews and educational material that serve to not only inform but to promote the symphony orchestra.

The iOS app is universal and wisely chooses to keep its content out of the app itself, which therefore weighs in at only 17.5 MB.

Here is a walk-through parts of the new app, a definite late Christmas gift to classical music lovers worldwide (though I am forced to add that the app is hard to find inside the U.S. App Store thanks to Apple's redesign):