London, UK (July 28, 2005)–Live performances of Beethoven’s complete symphonies have attracted 1,369,893 download requests in a BBC trial that was offered as part of Radio 3’s The Beethoven Experience. The downloads were from Radio 3 programs featuring live performances, from Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, of Beethoven’s nine symphonies by the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Gianandrea Noseda.
The programs were available free of charge and therefore not eligible for the Official UK Download or Top 40 singles charts, although the public’s enthusiasm is evident.
Roger Wright, Controller BBC Radio 3, said, “This download experiment began as an added extra to our Beethoven Experience and quickly took on a life of its own. The remarkable number of downloads has already sparked a healthy debate about the place of classical music in the digital world. I am thrilled that Radio 3 has shown how wide the interest is in quality classical music and demonstrated how innovation and the use of new technology can find new audiences.”
“We hoped this trial would give us an idea of audiences’ demand for radio downloads and it’s certainly done that,” said Simon Nelson, Controller of BBC Radio and Music Interactive.
The downloads were available for seven days after their broadcast as well as available streamed for seven days from the BBC Radio Player. The trial formed part of Radio 3’s Beethoven Experience (June 5-10), in which the complete works of Beethoven were broadcast in one week.
The BBC recently announced it will be offering up to 20 programs as podcasts and downloads, as a time-limited trial to give a more detailed picture of audiences’ appetite for downloads and to inform the development of the BBC strategy for audio downloads and on-demand content.