Mouse Over Beethoven

The BBC’s experiment with Beethoven was a huge success, with 650,000 downloads of th performances in 10 days or so, according to

The Beethoven ExperienceBBC Radio 3’s website has recorded more than 650,000 downloads after a week-long Beethoven special.

The Beethoven Experience ran from 6 to 10 June and featured live performances of the composer’s complete works by the BBC Philharmonic orchestra.

Web users were able to download the broadcast in full which was free and available on the site for a further seven days.

“This trial was all about gauging listeners’ appetite for downloads and the results are astonishing,” said Simon Nelson, controller of BBC Radio & Music Interactive.

As Buzz Jarvis points out, downloads are so much better for listeners than streams:

Obvious lesson to all broadcasters: Let there be downloads. All the folks who are bragging about their streams would be blown away by floods of downloads. Distribution is so yesterday.

Simon Nelson, controller of BBC Radio & Music Interactive, expressed his intention thus: “We are hopeful that we have attracted people who wouldn’t previously have explored much classical music, as well as inspiring others to embrace digital technology.” Sounds like he made an impact. But why is it that listening to free classical music is seen as a way of encouraging a broader interest in the genre (and, presumably, encouraging the listener to buy classical music) but when the music is pop, it’s seen as dangerous encroachment on the rights and prerogative of the music industry and has to be stamped out?