BBC's Free Beethoven Downloads. Record Labels Complain.

By Jon Newton 7/13/05

The BBC, Britain’s national broadcaster, recently offered free Beethoven as part of The Beethoven Experience on Radio 3 to gauge listeners' appetite for downloads.

Symphonies one to five were the first up with six to nine following and the complete works were online for about a month.

But, “the initiative has infuriated the bosses of leading classical record companies who argue the offer undermines the value of music and that any further offers would be unfair competition,” says The Independent.

Jon Newton

“Managing director of the Naxos label, Anthony Anderson, said: ‘I think there is a question of whether a publicly funded broadcaster should be doing this and there is the obvious issue that it is devaluing the perceived value of music’.”

If you can download music, its value is diminished? That looks a lot like an entertainment cartel contention.

“You are also leading the public to think that it is fine to download and own these files for nothing,” the story has Anderson saying.

However, while Radio 3 controller Roger Wright said there are no plans to extend the "experiment," he “did not rule out further downloads”.

"We are as surprised as everyone that this has been so popular," The Independent has him saying.

In related new Beethoven has risen from the grave to complain he has not recieved his royalty check from his record label for the last 175 years. Beethoven is considering legal action -- editor


Jon Newton is the editor of and is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge you to explore it.


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