Thursday 22 November 2012

Sinfini Music: More of the same?

The launch of new Universal’s shiny new classical music magazine Sinfini Music has prompted a number of posts across the classical blogosphere and provoked predictable responses from certain quarters. Norman Lebrecht, a contributor to SM, heralds its arrival with an enthusiasm that suggests a moment of epoch defining import, comparable with the discovery of America and the invention of cheese. Popular blogger Opera Chic has also been recruited and, if her post on the subject is anything to go by, we can look forward to a quotient of modern ironic jurno shtick and associated megalolz.

Elsewhere, Overgrown Path plots the new site’s coordinates at a lat and long of dumb and dumber, and indeed, first impressions aren’t great. There are well worn (out?) features such as celebrity interviews (Joanna Lumley’s classical faves is one worth missing), guides to recordings of familiar classics (all the choices on their Beethoven 5 feature are Universal titles, but hey ho), and even a naff cartoon. In fairness, there are some worthwhile items that you won’t find in the pages of Gramophone, such as Paul Morley’s stinging views of the Classical Brits and Gramophone Awards.

There’s the question of how much editorial independence is really possible when the main backer has such a vested interest in the market, but I wonder if the real story is that Universal is fed up of waiting for the traditional print media to master the online forum and has decided to step in. Efforts from various review magazines have tended to amount to little more than digital adverts for their own physical editions, and Universal must realise that there's a world of potential coverage that's currently being left to them dang bloggers. But is this really a new new way of funding music journalism or a worrying intervention in a field that should be valueing independence above all else? Time will tell, but for now it looks like (content-wise, at least) it might just be more of the same.

No comments: