Monday, November 26, 2012

To Damon Krukowski & Everyone Who Is Concerned About Spotify's Impact On Music

Damon Krukowski of Galaxie 500 and Damon & Naomi, recently published an article on Pitchfork, titled Making Cents. He reported his experiences as an artist with Pandora and Spotify, in a straightforward fashion, and came to the conclusion that "As businesses, Pandora and Spotify are divorced from music."

I think Damon's experiences, feelings, and most importantly, his way of thinking is typical among some indie artists. As a music fan I would like to see good music heard by more people, and musicians getting paid fairly so they can keep on making music; as an observer of the music industry I believe Spotify is bringing a positive change to the ecosystem that will eventually benefit both the musicians and music fans. So I would like to elaborate my view.

Please allow me to state that this article is not a rebuttal to Damon but a personal viewpoint on Spotify and streaming in general. I just hope that he, and people who care about the issues that concern musicians are able to see another picture from the viewpoint of the average listener and also my views on the impact of Spotify for the longer term benefit of musicians.

Damon: Leaving aside why these companies are bothering to chisel hundredths of a cent from already ridiculously low "royalties" ($0.004611 rate)...

Me: I do not have insider info from Spoify regarding payments, though I work with an aggregator who is Spotify's content provider, and I have read intensively on this subject, so I might be able to explain this.

Spotify does not pay at a fixed rate. As far as I understand, the pay per stream rate varies because Spotify has different types of services. When a paid user streams a track, it generates more royalties than from a free user. Mobile streaming requires different licensing from the desktop version and it pays differently.  And, Spotify also offers Pandora-like mobile radio service to free users in the US; those non-on-demand streams pay at the same rate as Pandora. So, each quarter, your music is streamed by a different mix of users, and the rate varies.

Damon: "Well, that's still not bad," you might say. (I'm not sure who would really say that, but let's presume someone might.)

Me: Yes that's not bad.

1. A stream is not a download. $0.004611 is indeed far less than $0.70 (royalty from one $0.99 iTunes download), but it does not mean Spotify will definitely make the artists worse off. Because:

a. Every stream pays. People who like your music stream many times; people who stream your music once and lost interest would/should never buy your music anyway.

b. The potential audience for your music on streaming services is much wider than CD/Downloads buyers. See the picture below:

The quantity differences between every group might be much bigger than the picture shows. And if all those people stream from services which pay at Spotify's current rate, how much could a band like Galaxie 500 make?

Galaxie 500's tracks were scrobbled 4,361,876 times by 215,191 users on, since the service's founding in 2002.

As of 2012, claims more than 40 million active users. Roughly 3% of the total population of US, Europe and Japan (I saw two Japanese users on their recent top listeners page). I did not use global population because about 90% of the music industry's revenues come from these three regions. It is very likely that on average users listen to more music than the general public, but please also note that not all (monthly) active users scrobble all their plays. Let's just say, between age 12 and 70 there might be 800 million music listeners of all kinds in the aforementioned regions, and 40 million users covers 5% of them.

Galaxie 500 was active between 1987 and 1991, which means their music probably was played many more times between 1987 and 2002 (when came into existance), than the past 10 years. But let's just assume the annual play numbers are the same, then the total plays from 1987 to 2012 is about 2.5 times the plays of 2002-2012 (as counted by

OK, here is the revelation...

4,361,876 plays * 2.5 / 5% = 218,093,800 plays

218,093,800 plays * $0.004611/play = $1,005,630.51

That is the revenue from "selling" recorded music alone, for Galaxie 500, in a "all streaming, no content ownership" world. This band only existed for four years. And this $40,000/year revenue stream will continue coming at no cost of the band.

That figure is, most likely, a huge understatement. As I said their music might be played many more times during the 90s. did not become a huge service years after 2002. Even active users left many plays unscrobbled (like, when they play CDs in their cars). And for people outside US, Europe or Japan, their little spending on music does not mean they do no listen to music (welcome to one of your Chinese fan pages, Damon). Their presence will be felt once the freemium services launch in the rest of the world. Lastly, many more people would listen to your music if they can stream it "for free" (a better expression would be: at no extra marginal cost) instead of having to buy a copy. Since Damon is also a Spotify Premium user, he must can understand this as I do. Personally I have listened to hundreds of artists which I would not have known if not for streaming.

So it is a safe assumption that, a band at Galaxie 500's level of popularity could make millions from streaming alone. And I guess the artists can also sell more tickets or raise more money on KickStarter, after their music was heard by many more people outside their current core fan base.

If this calculation involves too many uncertainties, let us look at it in a straighter way:

The track "Tugboat" made the band $29.80, in a quarter, on Spotify.

Spotify has about 20 million monthly active users.

If the worst happens and Spotify dominates, and has 1 billion users.

"Tugboat" would make the band, which ceased to exist since 1991, at least $1,490 every quarter, or $119,200 in 20 years. I would say it looks nice for a single that was released more than 20 years ago.

So, should Damon avoid Spotify until it has a billion users? I do not think so. Most manufacturers want their products available on Walmart and your neighborhood grocery store at the same time, as long as "the payment model" is fair. I will explain more about the model later.

Example: Jonathan Johansson made more than $20,000 from streaming services alone in the first month of his music being available.

Damon: Growth of the music business? I think not. Daniel Ek means growth of his company, i.e., its capitalization.

Damon also said this on Twitter:

Me: I am not sure about Pandora, but Spotify pays 70% of their total revenue (from subscription and advertisement) to the rights owners as royalties, the same as iTunes does. Major labels and indies (like Damon's self-owned label) are treated the same. This is confirmed by Spotify staff, and various online sources.

Daniel Ek should have no guilt for being a multimillionaire under 30, just like Steve Jobs was. He is rich not because he is ripping off the artists. His personal wealth is from his shares in Spotify, the company he co-founded and runs, not because he writes a big pay check for himself every year. And his company is valued at $3 Billion is because the investors believe the company would be valued even higher, or become profitable one day, and they are going to make money from their investments.

A profitable Spotify that pays 70% total revenues to rights owners is a good thing to the whole music ecosystem. And Daniel Ek has every right to enjoy his success, because his company created huge value for the music industry, just like Steve Jobs had done with iPod/iTunes Store.

On Spotify's prospect of being profitable, please read Andy Doe's post.

Conspiracy theorists: "Only major labels are making money from Spotify", or "Spotify is paying a (much) lower rate to indies."

Me: If every user pays for Premium ($9.99/month) and on average listens to 1,000 tracks a month (at 4 minutes a track, that's just 2.5 hours a day. I listen to much more than that). The royalties rate is:

 ($9.99 / 1000 plays) * 70% = $0.007/play

Right now only approximately 20% users pay. And Spotify is paying at $0.004611 rate for Damon's indie label. I rest my case. Further reading.

Another urban legend: "Spotify is making money for the music industry/labels" but not the artists."

Me: Every signed artist gets their royalties from their labels, and their labels from aggregators (unless they signed deals directly with Spotify). It is the same with CD, and iTunes. People who make a fuss about this simply does not understand how the music industry worked for the past century. If they really want to help the artists, please put the pressure on the labels and ask them to sign better deals with artists, not to spread false alarms about services that has nothing to do with how the royalties are re-distributed. As for the claim that "Spotify should make things easier for indie artists and bypass the in-betweens - yes it is one thing they could do. But labels/aggregators also serve the artists who need them. If you ever tried to upload your album to iTunes and dozens of other top digital platforms, you will know that they all use different formats and it may take days even weeks to do it all by yourself. Also Spotify''s catalog might be as messy as Youtube's, if everyone can upload stuff. I think one day there will be a better solution, but for now, if you want to make a dent in the music universe and you are not Radiohead, you probably still need a label. (Radiohead also have XL for distribution).

Damon: As businesses, Pandora and Spotify are divorced from music.

Me: This is what I fundamentally disagree, and I think what could hurt the artists is this way of thinking, not Spotify. So I have to write this response.

Let us look at the whole picture:

In the US, average spending on recorded music was $26 in 2011. In many other developed countries, like Italy and Spain, the number is much lower.

Spotify Premium is $120/year, and if everyone uses Spotify, even if the current freemium conversion rate (20%) does not go up further (it was 3% in 2009, so most likely it will), and considering the huge ad revenue (think about Facebook, whose sole revenue source is ad) for a service at that scale. The average spending would actually be higher.

Since Spotify is paying out the same percentage of revenues as iTunes, the artists, as a whole, would be better off than 2011.

And since Spotify calculates royalties based on the popularity, I think it is actually more fair than the current model. You might regret buying music you do not like now, but you only stream the music from artists you like, feel curious about, or at least find tolerable. Your payment to the music industry always goes to the artists you want to support at this moment.

This is the foundation of all my macro-assumptions. Streaming is not a race to the bottom for artists royalties.

The Culture Impact: Why New Music Needs Spotify Even More

The culture impact that Spotify could cause is immeasurable. I am not a tech zealot who claims that every new invention must be good. I just want to demonstrate it is a step forward, like gramophone, CD and iPod.

When people complain that less and less people are buying music, they tend to forget about all the music people have already bought. Recorded music ownership is increasing - just more slowly than before. A CD lasts decades, a download lasts until disk failure. Have you every considered the possibility that many people are just content with the dozens/hundreds/thousands of albums they have already bought, and content with the small dose of new music from Youtube/public radio/library. They might want to listen to the new stuff, it is just that everyone has a limitation of spending, and shelf space.

"I think in the long run, streaming will be the way people consume music - classical music and other five years, 50% of our business will be in all kinds of streaming." - Klaus Heymann, founder of Naxos

I am a "classical music blogger", and personally I am have lost hope for the traditional distribution method in this genre. There are thousands of new classical releases every year (my 2012 New Classical Releases Index (Collaborative Playlist) counts 1,400 so far, and that is not counting re-issues and re-packages). Total classical album sales in the US was 3.8 million in 2011, including back catalog. Take one look at Amazon's classical chart and you will get an idea of how little of them are new music purchases.

It is good that different people like different things, and every one identify with their own niche. But to really know the niche you feel belong to, you might need to have a basic knowledge of modern music. Let us assume a newly graduated 20-year-old wants to start a music collection now.

Does he need at least 6 Beatles and a couple of Stones? Does he need some Dylan? Some Kinks? Some Hendrix? Some Beach Boys? Some Lou Reed? Some Bowie? Some Clash? Some Prince? Some Motown? Some early blues? Some proto-metal?

For a wanna-be classical fan, the situation is even more helpless.

Do you need at least one Beethoven symphony cycle? And at least half of the quartets and piano sonatas? At least one Mahler cycle? At least a dozen albums for Bach? Mozart's mature operas, piano concertos, symphonies and chamber works? Schubert? Chopin? Brahms? Tchaikovsky and some other Russians? Dvorak and some other Czechs?

We will reach 100 albums very quickly, before even reach 1990s in pop or any living composer in classical. And of course you also need some jazz and world music, even if you are not crazy about it.

In fact, I think if you have not listened to 1,000 albums of various genres, you probably do not really understand your niche either.

Yes the 20-year-old probably have listened to all the classics from his parents' collection. And that is exactly my point: in a streaming world, every play pays.

And there is no use to pretend that people will keep on buying a copy for everything they want to hear, or the artists will go starving if people buy even less CDs.

Nowadays music is bought by people who are really into music, and want to support musicians. That is good, but that is not the only way.

Thousand-dollar headphones are consumed, and talked enthusiastically about, by a small group of people. Because it takes thousands of dollars to manufacture a piece, and only wealthy people can afford.

Recorded music, after it is been recorded, can be digitally replicated and streamed at almost 0 cost. Selling 1,000 copies to your core fan base is great, but what about getting 10,000 people to stream your album 100,000 times? Or even more? It is at least possible, as Galaxie 500's stats shows.

Many more people will listen to your music on streaming, not only because it's cheaper, it is also much more convenient. Music discovery is much easier with instant streaming and social networks, and I hope musicians take advantage of these facts.

An example: I am vaguely interested in indie pop, and I subscribed to this playlist:

@MonaFims #MusicMonday (updated every Monday) ♫

I play it once every week when it's updated with 20 new tracks, as background music. I do not pay attention to the artist names etc., and do not know any information about most of the music. If a track really grabs my attention, I star it and may listen more times. So far I starred 3 out of over 100 tracks.

But all the other artists also get paid, even when I do not know who they are. These things can scale.

What about new music?

The current situation is more or less like this: in a city of 10 million people, a million of them are active music consumers and accounted for most of the music sales, while the rest listen casually on Youtube and others. This 1 million people, or most likely, at most 100,000 true music aficionados of them, supported about 1,000 indie music acts of the city. On average they buy 10 albums from these artist every year, and on average an artist can sell 1,000 albums to this core fan base. Of course few of them live on this alone, and most indie artists never did in any time of history. They tour, sell merchandise, or work a day job.

It is not because 99% of the population definitely do not/will not like indie artists' works. It is because most of them never had the chance to fully explore the "mainstream" catalog and have little budget or aspiration left to adventure further.

If you like New Amsterdam's music not just for novelty value, you probably already own over 1,000 albums. Because their artists must have listened to many more than that.

And streaming helps many more users to finish the "basic education" and be ready for more.   

What I see in a Spotified world is this: 8 million people in this city listen on streaming services. Millions who never explored these indie artists before, now have the chance to hear for themselves. As for the music aficionados, they can now stream 100 or more new indie albums every year if they want. Both groups get to know the music better.

And unlike Justin Bieber and the most popular acts, who probably have already reached all their potential audience. The indie artists now has a chance to reach a much wider audience, and take more market share.

My projection, based on reasons stated above. Sales including streaming revenues. The market size could become much bigger, once Spotify launched successfully in more new markets, which current spending on recoded music is much lower than the US level.

Example: in Sweden, 89% of the digital revenues now comes from streaming, and total music sales up 30% in the first half of 2012.

What worries me is: most articles written on this subject so far are from musicians and critics who already own hundreds if not thousands of albums. The music services is to serve the musicians and their fans, of course the musicians' voice should be heard. But they all seem to lack the perception of common people.

And the seemingly jarring payment rate also stirred lots of armchair-moralists to attack streaming without much real understanding of the subject. I am not talking about Damon, he did a great job based on the information he had (and I do hope Spotify themselves can make the payment process more transparent). I am talking about many hateful/cynical commenters on music industry-related sites and blogs. They are not helping the artists in any way. It is easy to talk, but much harder to design a great app that 4 million people pay for a subscription, or just to comprehensive how does it really work.

What I propose is: even the most edgy artists today do not have to rely solely on the few hundreds/thousands people who buy their stuff. There might be another path. Common people have the power than the elites would care to admit. It should not have to be artists & their hardcore fans against the world. People will listen, if you care to let the most innovative minds in the industry help you.

This is not Ellsworth Toohey talking. On the contrary, I see streaming as a chance to bring more richness and diversity to the music world.

For the sake of simplicity I mostly used "Spotify" even when I should say "on-demand streaming services who adopt the same freemium model". But it is also obvious that, so far Spotify is the one that does on-demand streaming right. It may surprise many people that when the music industry first decided to go digital in late 1990s, they tried to sell subscription services. That was years before iTunes. No one used those services because they sucked. The model remains the same, but it took a decade before Spotify came along, set the standard and made a universally-acclaimed product. As a music fan, I feel excited about the times they are a-changin', just like a gadget maven looking at a first generation iPhone. It is not perfect, but so full of potential.

Music will find a way. And the road always lead to where it can be heard by more people, as it broke through the walls of the churches, palaces, and high society salons before.

Thank you for reading. Now I am going to stream some Galaxie 500.

Click, play.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Paris 1200: Complete Works of Pérotin on Spotify

"Pérotin, French composer of sacred polyphonic music, who is believed to have introduced the composition of polyphony in four parts into Western music. Nothing is known of Pérotins life, and his identity is not clearly established. He worked probably at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, and his compositions are considered to belong to the Notre-Dame, or Parisian, school, of which he and Léonin are the only members known by name.

Pérotin's four-part works were revolutionary, since religious music of the 12th century was almost entirely in the form of two-part organum (polyphony in which a plainchant melody is sung against another line of music). In Pérotin's organa the liturgical chant of the tenor is heard against not one voice but two or three voices that provide highly decorative vocalizations. He is known to have composed two four-part works, “Viderunt” and “Sederunt”; another four-part composition, “Mors,” is believed to be his. He also enlarged upon the Magnus liber organi, a collection of organa by his predecessor, Léonin, and made innovations in the use of rhythm. “Viderunt” and “Sederunt,” musical creations comparable in scope to the cathedrals of Gothic architecture, have both been recorded in modern performance. " - Britannica

 This playlists includes recordings for all known works of Pérotin, from over 20 excellent medieval music albums, featuring great vocal groups such as Anonymous 4, New York Polyphony and The Hilliard Ensemble; as well as arrangements played by Cygnus Ensemble and Kronos Quartet.

Get this collection in one Spotify playlist: Pérotin - Complete Works (22 tracks, 2 hours). Ctrl (CMD) + G to browse in album view.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Jerry Garcia: Non-Grateful Dead Songs He Played Guitar On

This playlist was inspired by Nick Paumgarte's enthralling New Yorker article, Deadhead, The Afterlife.

Garcia named his Fender Strat "Alligator", it was was given to him by Graham Nash. In return Garcia contributed some of his best studio works to Nash's songs.
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Teach Your Children
  • Crosby / Nash – Southbound Train
  • Graham Nash – I Used To Be A King
  • Brewer & Shipley – Oh Mommy
  • Jefferson Airplane – Today - Stereo Version
  • Jefferson Airplane – The Farm - Remastered 2004
  • It's A Beautiful Day – It Comes Right Down To You
  • Stephen Stills – Change Partners
  • New Riders Of The Purple Sage – Portland Woman
  • Papa John Creach – Soul Fever
  • Jerry Garcia/Howard Wales – South Side Strut
  • David Crosby – Cowboy Movie
  • David Crosby – Tamalpais High - 2006 Remastered LP Version
  • Paul Kantner;Grace Slick – When I Was A Boy I Watched The Wolves
  • New Riders Of The Purple Sage – Duncan And Brady
  • David Bromberg – Demon In Disguise
  • Doug Sahm – From A Jack To A King
  • Bob Weir – Looks Like Rain
  • Stephen Stills – Jesus Gave Love Away For Free
  • David Bromberg – Someone Else's Blues
  • Paul Kantner, Grace Slick and David Freiberg – Sketches Of China
  • Art Garfunkel – Down In The Willow Garden
  • Merl Saunders – After Midnight
  • New Riders Of The Purple Sage – Mighty Time
  • Mickey Hart – Happiness Is Drumming
  • The Neville Brothers – You're The One
  • Bill Cutler – Ridin' High
  • Ornette Coleman;Jerry Garcia;Prime Time – 3 Wishes
  • Mickey Hart – The Eliminators
  • Country Joe McDonald – Starship Ride
  • David Grisman – Friend Of The Devil
  • David Grisman – The Fields Have Turned Brown
  • Bruce Hornsby – Pastures Of Plenty
  • Bruce Hornsby – Cruise Control
  • Sanjay Mishra – Clouds (To Jerry Garcia)
  • Country Joe McDonald – Lady with the Lamp
  • Edie Brickell – Zillionaire
  • Bruce Hornsby – Across The River
  • David Grisman – I'll Go Crazy
  • David Grisman – Freight Train
  • David Grisman – Off To Sea Once More
  • David Grisman – Milestones - Miles Davis Take 5, 6/2/92
  • Country Joe & The Fish – Donovan's Reef Jam (Live)
  • Old & In The Way – Jerry's Breakdown
  • Old & In The Way – Uncle Pen
Get this collection in one Spotify playlist: Jerry Garcia outside Grateful Dead (45 tracks handpicked from 45 albums, total time: 4 hours). Ctrl (CMD) + G to browse in album view. See this page for a more comprehensive list.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How the Post-war Japanese Blew Their Minds on Rock 'n' Roll: Julian Cope's Japrocksampler Top 50 Albums on Spotify

The music here is insanely great, and utterly unknown. The fact that half of the albums are now available on Spotify is a miracle in itself.

The first generation of post-WWII Japanese youth created something that was so groundbreaking and penetrating, that compares to the "normal music" of western boomers at the same time (Beatles, Beach Boys etc.), it probably can only be described as Dark Matter. Some of them make even the Velvet Underground sounds like The Ventures.

About the author and the book:

"Julian Cope, visionary rock musician and musicologist, hip archaeologist and one-time frontman of The Teardrop Explodes, brings you JAPROCKSAMPLER. Until now, the language barrier has made post-war Japanese music an enigma to the West. Julian felt duty-bound to provide the key to that unfairly locked door.

Far East Family Band
This is the history of Western music's arrival on Japanese shores after WWII, and the delicious mayhem that ensued. From chromatic instrumental pop covers of The Shadows' songs to the resurrection of Dylan-inspired Rokyoku folk storytelling, nowhere has the continual metamorphosis of rock'n'roll been more fascinating or original than in Japan.

Taj Mahal Travellers
JAPROCKSAMPLER is an exploration of the clash between traditional, conservative Japanese values and the wild rock'n'roll renegades of the 1960s and '70s. It tells the tale of key artists in Japanese post-war culture, from itinerant art-house poets to violent refusenik rock groups with a penchant for plane hijacking, and rounds up the seminal japrock albums."

Les Rallizes Denudes
About the Top 50 Albums list:

"The music contained within this Top 50 consists of hard rock, proto-metal, purely psychedelic free-rock, experimental theatre works, choral and orchestral music, experimental percussion works, improvised ambient wipe-outs, progressive rock, and unadulterated guitar mayhem. However, I have chosen to place the albums in order of personal preference because certain readers of my Krautrocksampler pointed out that this would be an easier way into the trip. That said, it's essential to read more than just these reviews so as to gain a genuine perspective. Almost every artist mentioned in these reviews receives attention somewhere in the main text, so this Top 50 is included as an at-a-glance reference section."

Get all available recordings in one Spotify playlist: Julian Cope's Japrocksampler Top 50 (161 tracks, total time: 21 hours). Ctrl (CMD) + G to browse in album view. See the book's official site for more info. For Cope's more famous Krautrocksampler, see this previous playlist.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Naxos English Song Series on Spotify

"English composers of the 20th century have made some of finest contributions to the song literature. Our English Song Series is an ongoing survey of the best of these works performed by the leading interpreters of our day." -

"In a bold display of commitment to the purveyance of quality British music, Naxos is releasing the English Song Series, seven CDs of works by British composers sung by leading interpreters of song. Observant music enthusiasts may recognise this particular set of recordings; all seven discs debuted on the now-defunct Collins Classics label in the early 1990s. Unwilling for these excellent performances to go to waste, Naxos is breathing new life into the series in 2003. " -

Composers featured in this series so far:

Benjamin Britten, Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gerald Finzi, William Walton, Arthur Somervell, Roger Quilter, Liza Lehmann, William Alwyn, Ian Venables, George Butterworth, John Ireland, Ivor Gurney.

Get this collection in one Spotify playlist: Naxos - English Song Series (22 volumes, 582 tracks, total time: 25 hours). Ctrl (CMD) + G to browse in album view. See liner notes on Naxos and reviews on Presto.

Friday, November 9, 2012

e.e. cummings in music | Help New Amsterdam Records Rebuild

in the street of the sky night walks scattering poems - e. e. cummings

"e.e. cummings was a paradoxical poet who combined playfulness with seriousness; close attention to rhythm and rhyme with wild experimentation in grammar, spelling, and punctuation; and complicated ideas and images with simple words. His poetry's vividness and quirkiness have attracted many composers, who usually provide his poems with delicate, subtle settings to showcase their typically whimsical tones." - AllMusic

Inspired by Tin Hat's gorgeous new album on New Amsterdam: the rain is a handsome animal (17 songs from the poetry of e. e. cummings), I compiled this playlist, which includes cummings songs by Aron Copland, Morton Feldman, Pierre Boulez, Eric Whitacre, Luciano Berio, and over a dozen more composers. Also featured are pop music based on cummings's text, from Joan Baez, Ra Ra Riot and others. At the end there's three tracks of cummings reading his poetry from three albums.

Get this collection in one Spotify playlist: e.e. cummings in music (121 tracks, total time: 6 hours).Ctrl (CMD) + G to browse in album view. Some song text can be found here.


The New York based New Amsterdam Records is a central force in creating the "indie classical" scene since 2008, and so far has released dozens of compelling (both sonically and visually) albums that otherwise might never be heard. Unfortunately its headquarters in Red Hook, Brooklyn was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. If you would like to donate to their recovery effort (I did), please visit this official page. Thank you.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pictures at an Exhibition - Orchestrations & Arrangements for Other Forces

"Pictures at an Exhibition is a suite in ten movements composed for piano by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky in 1874. The suite is Mussorgsky's most famous piano composition, and has become a showpiece for virtuoso pianists. It has become further known through various orchestrations and arrangements produced by other musicians and composers, with Maurice Ravel's arrangement being the most recorded and performed." - Wikipedia

This playlist consists of over 30 arrangements of Pictures, including over a dozen orchestrations, from Henry Wood, Leo Funtek, Maurice Ravel, Lucien Cailliet, Leopold Stokowski, Sergei Gorchakov (the RCA recording by Rickenbacher comes with colorful narrations), Lawrence Leonard (for piano and orchestra), Vladimir Ashkenazy (sounds much more Russian than Ravel's), Emile Naoumoff (for piano and orchestra), Leonard Slatkin (compendium version), Peter Breiner (for large orchestra). In addition, there's also arrangements for brass ensemble, piano trio, organ, trombone and piano, accordion, two accordions, cello and bass ensemble, wind orchestra, bassoon ensemble, piano and percussion, marimba duo... and yes, rock bands (ELP and metal band Mekong Delta). For solo piano, I included Kissin's performance of the original, plus Horowitz and Moiseiwitsch's own revised versions.

Get this collection in one playlist: Pictures at an Exhibition - Orchestrations & Arrangements for Other Forces (505 track, total time: 20 hours). Ctrl (CMD) + G to browse in album view. For complete list of arrangements, see Wikipedia.