Classical Music Won't Play Second Fiddle for Long

Brit Music Publisher Boosey & Hawkes Rakes in Ad Licensing Money

By Published on .

If you think it's hard to push Britney onto paying customers these days, try the work of deceased Hungarian composer Béla Bartók! No, seriously. Try it. While the rest of music industry has been tanking, classical music -- and especially in digital form -- is faring better than almost every other genre. But that's not even the whole story.

According to The Telegraph, centuries-old classical music publisher Boosey & Hawkes is reaping the rewards of classical music's reinvigoration with scads of licensing deals in TV commercials:
Founded almost 250 years ago, Boosey & Hawkes continues to shun pop music - but Minch is determined to make the classics more popular. On a giant screen in his London office he shows John Lewis's recent Christmas advertisement with its soundtrack of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet - just one of the scores in a catalogue that includes Bartók, Britten, Bernstein and Birtwistle.

"We knew we were not selling to the advertising and film industry very well so we've got to know the right people in those sectors and made friends with choreographers, so that when they want to license a bit of music they come to us," he says. Next he flashes Carling's "spacemen" lager advert on the screen: that one is accompanied by music written by American Chris Rouse.
Because classical music has been so unpopular for so long, it's not hard to pick out a Beethoven sonata and make it your own. People tend to consider a score as just another piece of pretty furniture, but as interest grows and classical pieces continue to be more cost-effective to license, sonatas and symphonies might be competing with Morgan Freeman for commercial speaking roles some day.
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