While the international record industry suffers from the blues, the world of classical music is singing along to a different tune -- sales of opera and other "serious" music are holding their own and a trend towards pop-style artists is pulling in new customers. \nThe major record labels are cutting back on classical repertoire in favor of more accessible "crossover" artists, leaving the way open for the small independent classic labels, said industry insiders attending this year's five-day influential MIDEM international trade fair. \nSmall German record label Farao is one of the independents benefiting from the general malaise affecting the record giants. \n"We are doing quite well so we can't complain," said Felix Gargerle, who heads up Munich-based opera specialist Farao. \nClassical music sales remained stable last year, according to latest estimates by the international music industry's trade body, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), according to its head of research, Keith Joplin. \nFreeloaders \nIFPI data estimates that classical sales remained stable last year at 3.2 percent of total music sales worldwide despite a slight dip in value to just under the one billion dollar mark, he said. \nThe record industry blames its blues on the millions of freeloaders who illegally download music from the Internet. But with the digital pirates primarily interested in the latest pop hits, the classical business has avoided the fallout. \n"You won't find much classical repertoire on the music available on the major Internet illegal file-sharing services," Joplin pointed out. Piracy also affects classical sales less than pop music as copyright on much classical repertoire has expired, he added. \nThe latest taste for "crossover" music when mainly classical performers get the pop-star packaging treatment is another factor. This is bringing some much-needed cash into the coffers of the big operations. \nJoshua Bell's Romance of the Violin album was the first classical CD to make it into the US Billboard pop chart for 20 years, head of Sony classics Peter Gelb said at the MIDEM fair, which closed its doors on Thursday. Crossover, though, has brought a hail of criticism down on the heads of the big labels for "dumbing down." Others have come to their defense pointing out that pop-style, trendy young artists pull in bigger and, most important, younger audiences for classical music. \nIndependents \nThe new crossover wave is also opening new opportunities for the independents. \n"It's now left to the independent companies around the world to promote the [pure] classical repertoire," UK independent label Chandos Records' Ralph Couzens noted. As a result, "the core classical market in the UK has risen over the last two years," he added. \nThe increasing availability of classical recordings on DVD Audio and Super Accoustic CDs also are partly to thank for the classical world's resilience, IFPI's Joplin noted. \nBoth formats still have a tiny share of the global music market compared with the 20-year-old trusty CD, which continues to be the consumers' overwhelming choice. But they have seized a sizeable chunk of the classical market, Joplin added. \nThe classical market remains tough, however, for the small and financially vulnerable independents, MIDEM participants warned. The planned merger between record giants Sony and BMG could also raise new problems, particularly if the heavyweight labels slash prices to try and claw back market share. A price war could kill off some retail outlets and "when shops die we have less possibility for selling our products," Farao's Gargerle warned. \n"The future for diverse classical music lies with the independent sector who can experiment and aren't looking for tens of thousands of sales," said Andy Wilkinson of the UK's Cedaex.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
ROAD TO HISTORY: When Lee Teng-hui joined the KMT, the likelihood of a Taiwanese becoming ROC president, much less its first directly elected one, was hard to imagine Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was born on Jan. 15, 1923, in the farming community of Sanshi Village, Taihoku Prefecture — now New Taipei City’s Sanzhi District (三芝) — during the Japanese colonial era, and rose to become mayor of Taipei and not only the Republic of China’s (ROC) first Taiwan-born president, but its first directly elected one as well. Educated in the Japanese educational system of the time, Lee, who spoke Japanese, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Mandarin and English, won a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He earned a bachelor’s
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted