Everyone knows by now that the classical music record business is a shadow of what it once was. The big companies have drastically reduced their operations in the face of the availability of product by other means, above all, streaming. One effect of all these cutbacks has been that few companies are now willing to sign exclusive or any other kind of contract with performers. Some artists have taken matters into their own hands and started their own labels. The latest to do so is Daniel Barenboim. He has just launched Peral, in association with Universal. It appears that Universal will be little more than a distribution system while Barenboim and Peral make their own artistic choices. Incidentally, “peral” means “pear” in Spanish and “Barenboim” means “pear tree” in Yiddish.
Peral’s slogan is “For the Thinking Ear”. Barenboim’s idea is that the great classical music deserves a listener’s full attention. He intends to do everything he can to help listeners understand the music with analysis and discussion. The delivery system for Peral releases will be centered around iTunes. In other words, Barenboim is recognizing that most listeners are now getting their music from streaming and that artists need to understand that and make the most of it.
Among the first releases will be some early Bruckner symphonies with Barenboim conducting the Staatskapelle Berlin. The website for Peral is fresh and interesting in itself: www.peralmusic.com.