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Art vs. Business

Art vs. business

Continue of discussion from: Magdalena Kozens - General Discussions Part 2 [Performers of Vocal Works]

Paul Dirmeikis wrote (May 8, 2003):
Izabela Zbikowska wrote:
< Paul, you are terribly wrong: business UNFORTUNATELY has a lot to do with art and that's the greatest problem of today's classical music industry. You call this situation "unfortunate" yourself and that's why I can't understand your indulgence as to the performing standards when you say: "To my mind, a respectful attitude for all artists, even if one doesn't appreciate them because of musical reasons, preferably), should be a basis for all our criticisms, and would give guarantees for their credibility. It is terribly "politically correct" and just says nothing. >
I don't understand why it's "politically correct" to consider that a respectful attitude towards artists (i.e. not yielding to gratuitous stings such as "Does she understand what she's singing ?", unless one has direct and undoubted information...). I read so many reviews in magazines where this sort of scornful and haughty wholesale massacre attitude has become so customary that I'm fed up ! I'm desperately looking for "musically based criticisms". It has nothing to do with "indulgence". I simply don't care, on a musical point of view, if DGG takes advantage of Magdalena Kozena's pretty face, or if the artist's name on the booklet is now always bigger than the composer's name (this has become a scandalous habit, but... so what ?). Why focusing on the marketing practices ? This would lead to endless and pointless discussions (as it's starting now, by the way). There is such a marketing attitude for 90 % of the artists, and this is what helps the labels to sale. What's the big deal ? Some very good films have terrible advertising posters... These practices started a long time ago with Karajan, his yacht and his plane ; should this prevent me from listening to his recordings, and should this non-musical criterion influence my criticism ? Should Mischa Maisky's romantic and Russian looking (gold necklace, white opened shirt showing hair on his chest...), that DGG probably exploits and emphasizes, influence my listening to his Bach Cello Suites recordings ? One could write hundreds of examples... I stick to my opinion : art, in essence, has nothing to do with business and marketing practices.

I simply put aside what has nothing to do with music, and I open my ears and my soul, and that's it. I don't call this "indulgence", I'd rather say "musical honesty".

Johan van Veen wrote (May 8, 2003):
[To Paul Dirmeikis] This view seems to me somewhat naive. Of course, the very fact that an artist is covered in an untasteful way - or in any way which has nothing to do with the music - isn't a reason not to listen. But the question is whether the fact that an artist is popular and therefore gives the CD company an excellent opportunity to make money couldn't result in some pressure on the artist to make recordings at a time when he or she isn't really ready for it, or to record some repertoire the artist isn't really familiar with.

I think that a really good CD producer, who is interested in good music making rather than money making, should be ready to refuse to let an artist do things he or she would like to do, whereas the producer knows the result wouldn't be good from a musical point of view.

Andreas Scholl is a good example. I personally don't care much about him, but he is hugely popular. But the producer should have prevented him recording such garbage as the 'Folksongs" CD he has made for Decca.

And what happens when the artist isn't that popular anymore? (Not that unlikely, since the hypes are shorter and shorter.) He or she will be dumped without qualms.

One of the main causes of the crisis in the recording industry is the fact that the CD companies are firmly in the hands of people who want to exploit music for money making.

Paul Dirmeikis wrote (May 8, 2003):
Paul Dirmeiks wrote:
< I don't understand why it's "politically correct" to consider that a respectful attitude towards artists (i.e. not yielding to gratuitous stings such as "Does she understand what she's singing ?", unless one has direct and undoubted information...). >
Sorry for the missing words at the end of my first sentence. It was supposed to be :

I don't understand why it's "politically correct" to consider that a respectful attitude towards artists (i.e. not yielding to gratuitous stings such as "Does she understand what she's singing ?", unless one has direct and undoubted information...) is a sane basis for credible criticism.

By the way, coming back to my previous post (I'm afraid the "Kozena affair" overshadowed the rest of my e-mail...), no answers for a possible written interview with Paul McCreesh, thanks to the member who already interviewed him (I sort of recall it's Matthew, but I'm not sure)?

Paul Dirmeikis wrote (May 8, 2003):
Johan van Veen wrote:
< I think that a really good CD producer, who is interested in good music making rather than money making, should be ready to refuse to let an artist do things he or she would like to do, whereas the producer knows the result wouldn't be good from a musical point of view. >
I totally agree with you, of course. But if you think you can find this rare animal somewhere on Earth in this century, I wonder if you're not much more "naive" that you say I am...

Uri Golomb wrote (May 8, 2003):
Johan van Veen wrote:
< One of the main causes of the crisis in the recording industry is the fact that the CD companies are firmly in the hands of people who want to exploit music for money making. >

The way you phrase it, Johan, it seems that you believe all record companies "are firmly in the hands of people who want to exploit music for money making". Is that really what you meant to say? I certainly get the impression -- though, not having done any studies on the matter, I'd hate it to call it more than an impression -- that some record companies can be accused of this, notably those that are part of larger conglomerates (Universal {DGG, Philips, Decca}, Warner {Erato, Teldec}, etc.). I hasten to add, though, that even these companies still produce much that is worthwhile and of genuine quality.But do you really believe that Bis, Hyperion, Chandos, Harmonia Mundi, Channel Classics, Auvidis and other "independent" companies (not to mention musician-run companies like Gimell, Alia Vox, etc.) are run primarily for profit? Of course, many of us would not agree with specific decisions made by these companies; but just because we don't enjoy a recording, doesn't mean in itself that its producers were not genuinely convinced of its artistic merit. I see little evidence that these smaller companies' artistic decisions (what repertoire to record, and with which artists) are guided solely or even primarily by commercial considerations. I also hear sometimes that these companies suffer from financial difficulties; but the fact remains that most of them are still in business, and still make enough profit to invest in the making of new recordings. This fact is, of course, no justification for complacency -- but it is cause for optimism.

Johan van Veen wrote (May 8, 2003):
[To Uri Golomb] My observation was a little generalising.

I agree with your observation: there is a lot of difference between the large companies and the smaller ones. It is striking that - like you suggested - many smaller ones, often run by people who really love music, are still alive and well. And it is no coincidence either that these smaller companies don't rely on the so-called 'big names' and don't depend on smart marketing techniques. They contract interesting interpreters, often not that well-known, and release neglected repertoire. Their CDs sell themselves, purely on the basis of the quality of music and interpretation - and often accompanied by interesting and informative booklets.

Let us keep them in high esteem!

Gene Hanson wrote (May 8, 2003):
Paul Dirmeikis wrote:
< This would lead to endless pointless discussions (as it's starting now, by the way). >
We can expect, then, that your's will be the last word on the subject, we hope.

Gene Hanson wrote (May 8, 2003):
Johan van Veen wrote:
< One of the main causes of the crisis in the recording industry is the fact that the CD companies are firmly in the hands of people who want to exploit music for money making. >
Amen.

Gene Hanson wrote (May 8, 2003):
Uri Golomb wrote:
< I see little evidence that these smaller companies' artistic decisions (what repertoire to record, and with which artists) are guided solely or even primarily by commercial considerations. I also hear sometimes that these companies suffer from financial difficulties; but the fact remains that most of them are still in business, and still make enough profit to invest in the making of new recordings. This fact is, of course, no justification for complacency -- but it is cause for optimism. >
True enough. In fact, there was a recent article in the NY Times about the takeover of one of the smaller independents that could no longer survive financially by another company that planned to cut CDs from its master tapes on a demand basis. An interesting concept for the future, perhaps. It would eliminate inventory and distribution costs.

Bob Henderson wrote (May 8, 2003):
As I sit here today there are 45 performances of the B Minor Mass (BWV 232) available on Arkiv.com. There are 5 complete cycles of the cantatas either complete or on the way. This to me is amazing. When I began collecting records 45 years ago we were limited to a few available recordings of the Mass and no complete cantata cycle that I know of. And if we lived outside a major population center we found it difficult to acquire those few recordings that were available!

Something in the system has worked to our advantage. Corporations and certain artists will always be motivated by profit; but consider the proliferation of small labels who only seek that their art be known (and their bills paid!). It appears that many artists and groups when dumped by their recording contract simply go out and begin their own label (I know its not that simple but it has been done and it can be contemplated) And given the net, means of distribution appear to have become vastly simplified! The amount and quality of music available today is overwhelming!

We should continue to support and hold in high esteem those who bring great music to us. And remember, we live in blessed times.

Kirk McElhearn wrote (May 8, 2003):
<< One of the main causes of the crisis in the recording industry is the fact that the CD companies are firmly in the hands of people who want to exploit music for money making. >>
Gene Hanson wrote:
< Amen. >
Don't kid yourself and think that all these musicians do what they do out of altruism. While it's true that most classical musicians record and perform because they love the music, they wouldn't be able to do it if there were no money in it.

The same is true for any creative profession. I couldn't write as I do if I weren't paid - I have to make a living. However, I do agree that the bigger the company the more fetters there are for the creator. The flip side of this is the amount of distribution force the bigger companies can put into their products. Few indeed are the creators who can live of the "Grateful Dead model", which is earning enough from live gigs to live on (and fairly well, though not becoming rich) and giving away some of their content.

Gene Hanson wrote (May 8, 2003):
[To Kirk McElhearn] Sure, that's true of anyone, and I have no problem with labels making money (especially when 9 out of 10 classical music disks loses money). The problem is when they put money before music by hyping mediocrity and engaging in superficial marketing gimmicks. Not that I am saying that Kozena is mediocre. I haven't heard her except for a few clips from William Kasimer's previous post, and she sounded good to me. But I do think the labels push new popular stars like Charlotte Church who are not that mature or accomplished, and I agree that many popular performers are encouraged to take on too much repertoire for the sake of exploiting their popularity.

Kirk McElhearn wrote (May 8, 2003):
[To Gene Hanson] Yes, but don't forget we classical music listeners are in a minority. I don't think it's faire to lump the Charlotte Churches of the world in the classical end, even though the record companies do.

BTW, I think Kozena is great, and have often said so here, even though I find some of here individual pieces (the Messiah bit, for example) disappointing. Her Bach Aria disc is one of my favorites.

Izabela Zbikowska wrote (May 8, 2003):
When I was exploring BRL for the first time, invited by Piotr, I seem to remember coming across an interview with the chief of Deutsche Grammophon whose name I didn't care to remember. Not that what he said was any surprise to me, but anybody who still doesn't believe that classical music business is about money and not about music should read it (I'll try to retrieve it. I think it was posted by a German speaking member Thomas whose sencond name I forget).

But it is true that this doesn't apply to the independent labels. They are run by people who really love music and care about it and struggle to keep their companies alive. The quality of their recordings is often much higher than of those from Universal and the repertoire is often unique.

Also, among them, Harmonia Mundi makes the most beautiful - visually - discs on earth and sells them at such low prices that it is hard to believe that you get such a quality for ca. 60% of the so called regular price. And those are really first class releases, with really great artists.

What also strikes me is how quickly after the original release HM repackages their CDs and sells them at mid-price. It is often within 2-3 years, sometimes even the next year (they add their catalogue to their most popular titlles sold at ridiculously low prices - a stroke of genius!) while it takes Universal at least 10 (look how long they waited to sell Gardiner's Bach at mid-price).

I am sure HM is not a philantropic institution but sometimes it really looks so - as if they are giving us all those goods almost for free, and all beatifully packaged.

I know that the contents is more important but if we are getting both: a great product and a nice packaging, I am all the happier for it. But DG's "music making" is FOCUSED on the cover. I promised not to mention the K. name, but here comes another pretty face, Anna Netrebko and her debut album for DG on whose cover half of her breast is falling out of her blouse. Look what they did to Yundi Li - if you saw his pictures from the Warsaw Chopin Competition, he was a modest, well dressed guy, while it is hard to say looking at his DG publicity photos whether he is a man in the first place.They turned him into a revolting candy.

I think it is a very important issue because - for their own `mental health" - artists have to know whether it is their talent that makes them famous or is it their image (that often has nothing to do with reality). It is really very easy to blurr this boundary particularly with women, and particuarly with singers because they have a more general audience than say, chamber music musicians or instrumentalists in general. Are we going to hear soon about a movement of liberation of classcial artists from the pressure of their agents?

Paul, I agree with you on the problem of reviews that they really have nothing interesting to say than make peronal comments (not always unfriendly though). That's exactly the problem - there is more emphasis on `personal' than on repertoire or its execution. There was a very interesting article in Gramophone some time ago by J.S. Steane - one of their top vocal critics - who made the effort to do some statistics about reviews of opera productions: what is the ratio of words referring to visual aspects of the production to the words referring to singing. His conclusions were interesting: sometimes reviewers don't mention the singing at all! I don't want toffend critics - some of them know their trade - but so many of them have absulutely no idea about technical aspects of singing! Visual aspects are now so important, that singing becomes almost irrelevant. And casting to opera productions is based now on visual suitability, not on the suitability of the voice. This is supposed to invite more people to opera, because all those fat ladies put them off. that's the philosophy behind it. If you hear some of the artists recorded on those independent labels, you often wonder why they aren't know better. well, if you care to look inside the booklet, you'll often find the answer in the photo. This is really sad.

I have to say that when I see a new pretty face on the cover, I am really getting more and more suspicious about the contents. I may be wrong but I can't help it.

You all know the Vivaldi series from NAIVE, i am sure. They put professional models on their covers. IF pretty faces HAVE to adorn CD covers, then this is a splendid idea. The model gets paid for her job, the musicians for theirs! And everybody is happy, including those who buy discs because the cover sports a pretty face (although I have to say that some of those NAIVE covers are terribly silly and even offensive).

Johan van Veen wrote (May 8, 2003):
Izabela Zbikowska wrote:
>>>You all know the Vivaldi series from NAIVE, i am sure. They put professional models on their covers. IF pretty faces HAVE to adorn CD covers, then this is a splendid idea. The model gets paid for her job, the musicians for theirs! And everybody is happy, including those who buy discs because the cover sports a pretty face (although I have to say that some of those NAIVE covers are terribly silly and even offensive). <<<<<<
I happen to find those covers extremely ugly. I would have preferred something like a baroque painting. I don't want to look at those faces time and again. I can't see the point in producing covers which have nothing to do with music.

Gene Hanson wrote (May 8, 2003):
Johan van Veen wrote:
< I happen to find those covers extremely ugly. I would have preferred something like a baroque painting. >
How about a nice Prince Charles painting. <g>

Izabela Zbikowska wrote (May 8, 2003):
< I happen to find those covers extremely ugly. I would have preferred something like a baroque painting. I don't want to look at those faces time and again. I can't see the point in producing covers which have nothing to do with music. >
neither do I but if you DO have to have photos of pretty girls then let it be models. It is crazy, I admit, but it just proves what selling records is about. I would be happy with paitings on covers - Hyperion uses them almost exclusively and their covers are always extremely tasteful.

Steven Guy wrote (May 8, 2003):
[To Johan van Veen] OPUS 111 seems to be using anorexic models for the covers of their CDs. I didn't mind the cover of the recording of Vivaldi's 'Juditha Triumphans' - which was faintly disturbing, in keeping with the subject of the oratorio - but the rest look silly. What a bunch of sick, too thin models - living on champagne and cocaine - have to do with Baroque music is beyond my low levels of comprehension! Maybe OPUS 111 is hoping that blokes who buy luxury cars will want to have some of these CDs lying around in the car when they are trying to impress women? Who knows!!!???

As for covers, my favourite companies are CPO and HYPERION. Harmonia Mundi France has good covers too - most of the time. Some of the covers of CPO's compact discs are very beautiful indeed - see the recent recording of Andrea Gabrieli's Psalmi Davidici. If Warner and Universal want to market young artists like pop stars then that is their problem. I find it both hilarious and embarrassing that DG maintains the ridiculous pretence that it is still some sort of quality 'Rolls Royce' label! Actually, the DG website is a bit of a joke - especially the Yellow Lounge "a place to chill out" - as we are told.

'Small is beautiful' in the Classical music recording industry these days. Long live the small guys out there!

Donald Satz wrote (May 9, 2003):
[To Steven Guy] Particularly illuminating is the Opus 111/Vivaldi cover of a young and thin woman wearing a tank top with a cross on it which ends at the mid-point of her breasts.

I also don't understand the logic of these covers. The women are not very good looking and the opposite of voluptuous. Maybe it's time for some Penthouse or Playboy covers; those would be big hits with the buying public.

The postings on art vs. profit have been interesting. Even the best record companies have to turn a profit, and the recent years' slow sales naturally lead to greater marketing efforts. The problem that I recognize is that record companies have been gobbled up by giant conglomerates whose CEO's know only one way to go - giant amounts of money in their pockets. It's happening in all endeavors, not just classical music. No matter how badly they screw up, the typical CEO demands a large salary, getaway retreats, and yearly bonuses which are greater than most of us earn over a lifetime. Those folks are nothing more than thieves who should be neutered and then sent to solitary confinement for the rest of their lives. Personally, I'd like to shoot them through the head.

Philip Peters wrote (May 9, 2003):
[To Steven Guy] I used to have an LP of the first Brahms piano concerto. The cover showed three fried eggs in a pan...

Gene Hanson wrote (May 9, 2003):
Donald Satz wrote:
< It's happening in all endeavors, not just classical music. No matter how badly they screw up, the typical CEO demands a large salary, getaway retreats, and yearly bonuses which are greater than most of us earn over a lifetime. Those folks are nothing more than thieves who should be neutered and then sent to solitary confinement for the rest of their lives. Personally, I'd like to shoot them through the head. >
A bit Draconian, perhaps, but you're not exaggerating. Last night, at a school fundraiser, I was talking to the mother of one of my elder daughter's high school classmates who graduated from Williams College and is now a paralegal with a New York litigation boutique. She is working on a criminal case involving the chairman or CEO (I'm not sure which) of a midwestern utility who started out as a Wall Street hotshot. He has a jet that can fly from New York to San Francisco in 2-3 hours, and a mahagony-walled hangar to keep it in.

Riccardo Nughes wrote (May 9, 2003):
< there are 45 performances of the B Minor Mass available on Arkiv.com. >
What is this? Can you give us a URL? I've tried at www.arkiv.com but I've been redirected to a webhosting site from Norway.

Gene Hanson wrote (May 9, 2003):
[To Riccardo Nughes] I just had an email from them a few days ago, but I can't find it, and I don't have the site bookmarked for some strange reason. But they have a very nice web site and a broad range of selections. They're located in Florida, of all places! Keep looking.

Izabela Zbikowska wrote (May 9, 2003):
[To Donald Satz] Well, it would be interesting to know who is behind this idea and - first of all - why NAIVE decided to go with it. Was it supposed to be a joke or just marketing (of course it can be both at the same time)? To me it is one of the bad examples of record companies trying to 'bribe' young audiences, make classcial music 'approachable', almost funky. There is basically nothing bad about it but I find this approach quite idiotic.

The cover you mentioned is indeed particularly revolting. I think it may be the kind of provocation Benetton uses in its ads - at least that cover strikes me as very provocative and actually offensive. It is a cover for Stabat Mater (or some other religious work) and the cross is probably supposed to be an allusion to the religious character of the work. I do find it terribly offensive.

Gene Hanson wrote (May 9, 2003):
[To Riccardo Nughes] I remembered the url: http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical

Bob Henderson wrote (May 9, 2003):
ArchivMusic.com located in Florida?......Florida? The landof the missing chad? My home? (It is a terrific service.....highly recommended)

Bob Henderson wrote (May 9, 2003):
[To Riccardo Nughes] Sorry Riccardo. Its www.ArchivMusic.com. Maybe in Norway?

Pete Blue wrote (May 9, 2003):
[To Bob Henderson] Actually, it's www.arkivmusic.com, not "archiv". BTW, I find their prices among the highest online.

Gene Hanson wrote (May 9, 2003):
[To Pete Blue] True, but their service and selection are very good, and they do run
sales. If you buy from them you will receive email notifications of sales.

Gene Hanson wrote (May 9, 2003):
Robert Sherman wrote:
< To fly from NY to SFO in 2-3 hours would require supersonic flight, which no exectuive jet can do, and which would be prohibited anyway because of sonic boom. >
Per the info I received, it is faster than military jets, and I trust my sources. Whether it would be permitted or not is another matter.

Last words on the subject, I hope.

Riccardo Nughes wrote (May 9, 2003):
< Well, it would be interesting to know who is behind this idea >
Hervé Boissière - Directeur Artistique & Executive Producer hboissiere@naive.fr (this ia a public address, of course http://www.naiveclassique.com/contact/adresses/adresses.html )

This argument (Vivaldi edition covers) has been discussed on the Italian ML MusicaBarocca : some member wrote to the man cited above expriming their protests.
The last in the serie: http://www.naiveclassique.com/OPUS111catalogue/OP30365/op30365.html

Gene Hanson wrote (May 9, 2003):
[To Riccardo Nughes] I'd buy it! <g>
Strange, indeed. They don't seem to have these covers with other composers. Is it only Vivaldi? I'm not familiar with the label. Do they have an English-language web page?

Dyfan Lewis wrote (May 9, 2003):
Donald Satz wrote:
"CEOs know only one way to go - giant amounts of money in their pockets....No matter how badly they screw up, the typical CEO demands a large salary, getaway retreats, and yearly bonuses which are greater than most of us earn over a lifetime. Those folks are nothing more than thieves who should be neutered and then sent to solitary confinement for the rest of their lives. "
I have never heard it expressed more succinctly.

I remember when CEOs could see beyond the next quarter and were proud of a fine product.

Gene Hanson wrote (May 9, 2003):
[To Dyfan Lewis] Watch it, you'll get flamed. (Apparently we have a few sensitive CEOs on the list.)

Izabela Zbikowska wrote (May 9, 2003):
[To Riccardo Nughes] Thanks for the info. Is there anybody who likes the covers?

Riccardo Nughes wrote (May 10, 2003):
< They don't seem to have these covers with other composers. Is it only Vivaldi? >
Yes, it's something exclusive to the Vivaldi Edition on Opus 111. This serie is dedicated to new recordings of Vivaldi know or unknow works in new performing edition based on the manuscripts found in the Turin Library.

< I'm not familiar with the label. >
OPUS 111 is an "historical" French label dedicated to early and baroque music. It was founded and directed by Yolanda Skura : she produced (not on this label obviously) some of the first recordings of J.E.Gardiner (for exemple the Gluck music for the Don Juan ballet rereleased on Apex-Warner recently).

She sold her label to the Naive group in the summer of the 2001 (IIRC). Naive is the most important independent music group in French, dedicated not only to Classical music. They have released this year, f.e, the Carla Bruni cd, a great success in all european pop charts. They also have the property of the old Auvidis-Astrèe catalogue. You can receive their catalogue filling the form at:
http://www.naiveclassique.com/contact/newsletter/catalogue_naive/catalogue_naive.html

< Do they have an English-language web page? >
No, it is in French only, but it is very useful, IMO. You can download many mp3s from their titles (I'm listening a Boulez pièce just now...). They also have a serie called "tete-a-tete", 2 full price CD from the OPUS 111 catalogue reissue together at a low price (about 15,00 euro). You can download the booklets (very informative and well-done) from the site : a good idea, IMO.

Izabela Zbikowska wrote (May 10, 2003):
< Yes, it's something exclusive to the Vivaldi Edition on Opus 111. >
It is not quite true. A recording of Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande conducted by Bernard Haitink released last year by NAIVE featured a picture of a model on the cover but it was in a very different style and it even suited the subject of the opera which can't be said about the covers for the Vivaldi series. The Debussy cover is also quite tasteful, even lovely: Amazon.com

Artists creating their own labels

Paul Dirmeikis wrote (May 8,m 2003):
Bob Henderson wrote:
< It appears that many artists and groups when dumped by their recording contract simply go out and begin their own label (I know its not that simple but it has been done and it can be contemplated) >
Yes. Jordi Savall, among others, started up his own label.

Another example (connected to DGG) : Stockhausen's recordings were regularly released by DGG since 1963 (about 50 Stockhausen records were available). Then, at the end of the 80s, DGG decided to dump this man, who is worldwide considered as one of the most important living composers, because his sales were considered as not profitable. In 1991, he therefore created his own label (Stockhausen-Verlag), and now has a catalogue with about a hundred of his works recorded. But this needs indeed a lot of time, and a lot of work and energy !

I wish that performers as Rifkin or Parrott, who are so scarcely recorded, could do the same, and not perpetually wait for the good willingness of a label.

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 8, 2003):
Paul Dirmeikis wrote:
< I wish that performers as Rifkin or Parrott, who are so scarcely recorded, could do the same, and not perpetually wait for the good willingness of a label. >
Perhaps they should do what I have done (or similar), which is to set up my recordings at mp3.com. The CDs are burned on demand. The musician doesn't need to make any up-front investment, except the costs of the recording sessions and editing. (Then there is the small monthly service fee to be a member, but that comes out about even: whenever anyone downloads samples from mp3.com a few cents come back to me, and overall it pretty well covers the monthly service charge.) The cellist John Michel does even better with this than I do.

 

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