Tech News April 2012

With the accelerating pace of technological change, the League will post a monthly summary of relevant news and information regarding changes, trends and developments that may affect the electronic media activities that orchestras use to achieve their institutional missions. 

If you have questions about this material or any other electronic media topic, please contact Michael Bronson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Joe Kluger at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

1.  Allegro? Adagio? Who Knows? Who Cares?

Developments in the digital realm for classical music include:

  • Spotify has just announced the launch of Classify, a new groundbreaking classical music app designed to be the easiest way to browse, discover and listen to classical music over the Internet. Classify is created to be your Spotify home for classical music.  Click here for a preview.
  • X5 Music Group , headquartered in Sweden and New York, which contains approximately 9.000 albums in its catalogue, is a unique digital business model and digital production platform that allows every step of the production and distribution chain to be highly flexible, to meet the varying needs of artists.

(Source: Huffington Post)

2.  Internet-Based Theater Company Lives Between Cyberspace and the Stage

A small Philadelphia-based company called New Paradise Laboratories is re-creating theater for the connected generation. It’s incorporating social networks like Facebook, Skype and Chatroulette into the production and presentation of shows, pulling theater into the virtual space. This innovative experience takes audiences through a rabbit hole on a visually stimulating online adventure. Stories evolve on social networks with multimedia components from YouTube and Sound Cloud. (Source: Mashable)

3.  Digital Drama: The technology transforming theatre

In a movement that some critics are calling "technodrama" and "mixed reality," theatre shows across the globe have been embracing the latest digital technology.  3D projections, virtual-reality masks for actors, stop-motion camerawork and computer animation have all been put to use. And as the hardware and software become ever cheaper, the methods are trickling down to fringe theatre too and are no longer just the preserve of big-budget shows by the likes of Robert Lepage (the French-Canadian digital pioneer who brought the latest technology to world attention, by experimenting with 3D projection at New York's Metropolitan Opera.)  The real digital revolution is that you can now map your 2D projections onto your particular stage set in a venue - rather than merely project onto a flat surface, which obviates the need for 3D glasses.  (Source: BBC News)

4.  BBC plans download service

The BBC has unveiled plans to make its content available on a download-to-own basis.  BBC director general Mark Thompson said Project Barcelona would allow members of the public to purchase a “digital copy of a program to own and keep.” He added that there would be a “modest charge” for doing so.  (Source: The Stage News)

5.  Live Broadcasts Make $11 Million for Met

The Metropolitan Opera’s high-definition live movie broadcasts started out with the modest aim of breaking even -- or not losing much money at any rate.  Now, as Anna Netrebko, Renee Fleming and Joyce DiDonato boost the New York company’s repertoire for the new season, its general manager is proclaiming bigger successes.  The shows now make $11 million net profit, according to Gelb, 58.  “That’s the figure after we’ve covered all of the incremental production costs, including cameras and satellite, and payments to artists and unions,” Gelb said. “We faced a challenge to find new audiences,” Gelb said in an interview. “Labor costs and material costs were rising, it was impossible to match those expenses with rising ticket costs. Something had to be done.”   (Source: Bloomberg News)

6.  RSNO to transmit concerts to schools and libraries

Scotland’s national orchestra is to broadcast its performances through the internet to community halls, schools and libraries as part of its plans to make its concerts accessible to as many people as possible.  (Source: Herald Scotland)

7.  Five Reasons Why Your Nonprofit Needs a Mobile Website

With smartphones now outselling PCs and tablet sales surpassing even the most conservative of estimates, the majority of your nonprofit’s supporters will likely be browsing your website on mobile devices by 2013 – and unfortunately most nonprofits are not prepared for this dramatic shift in Web communications. That said, Chapter 9 of Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits has valuable information on the how-to of launching a mobile website and best practices for mobile design (Source: Non-Profit Tech 2.0)

8.  Cinemas open their screens to opera and ballet

The growth of live and recorded opera and ballet performance for cinema audiences is providing a bankable boost for many cinemas. This spring, there is an added attraction: more productions will be screened in 3D, bringing audiences even closer to the theatrical experiences at a fraction of the cost of tickets.  (Source: The Guardian)

9.  Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles Chart Starts Tracking Online Listening

Billboard magazine is changing the way it ranks songs on its Hot 100 singles chart to take into account online music-streaming services like Spotify and Rhapsody, responding to a major shift in how people are consuming music.  The chart’s methodology has been changed several times since it was established in the late 1950s. In those days hits were determined by counting jukebox plays, spins by radio disc jockeys and sales at record stores. Since the late 1990s the chart has been based mostly on airplay and digital sales.

But streaming services have been growing rapidly in recent years, and have surged even more in the last few months. The number of streams on six of the biggest services rose to 494 million in the week ending March 4, from 300 million a week at the start of the year, according to Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems.   Billboard has now begun to publish a new chart — On-Demand Songs — that ranks singles according to the number of times they were listened to on those six Internet services — Spotify, Rhapsody, MOG, Slacker, Muve Music and Rdio. That data will then be folded into the Hot 100 chart, along with tallies of streams from sites like Yahoo, Myspace, Guvera and Akoo. The chart’s new methodology, first reported in The Wall Street Journal, still gives the greatest weight to sales, followed by radio play, and then online streaming. 
(Source: New York Times)