This Week’s Insights: How Amazon guarantees bestsellers… Classical music sales surge… changing ballet to make it interesting for kids… An initiative to extend the arts with technology… How Stephen King saved book reviews in his local paper.
- Amazon’s Guaranteed Bestsellers: It’s very simple, really. If you own are the pieces of a publishing eco-system you can pretty much decide what will be a hit. Consider: To promote these works, it has tools other publishers can only dream about owning, including Amazon First Reads and Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s e-book subscription service. Together, they reach an estimated 10 million or more customers who can read offered titles with a few keystrokes. “They aren’t gaming the system,” literary agent Rick Pascocello said. “They own the system.”
- A Big Jump In Classical Music Recording Sales: Don’t get tooo excited. Yes, album sales were up 10 percent in the UK – and yes, there was a 6.9 percent increase in sales of classical CDs. Streams also showed significant growth in 2018, rising 42% year-on-year, compared to a 33% rise in the overall market. (Streaming now accounts for a quarter of classical consumption, lagging far behind the rest of the market, where the figure is 63.6%). But we’re talking about relatively low sales in actual copies sold. Still – just as independent book stores have been on the rebound, and sales of poetry have soared (again relatively speaking), there seems to be an upward tick in traditional “analog” art forms.
- Can We Change Ballet To Get Kids Interested? Why of course we can. Northern Ballet in the UK has shot a series of dances designed specifically for kids watching on TV. Shot as 40-minute films in vibrant high-definition colours, the Bite-Sized Ballets series will kick off with an adaptation of the Tortoise & the Hare, to be followed by Elves & the Shoemaker and Three Little Pigs. At the start of each film, the story is narrated on screen and dance instructors show children how to do some of the moves to create a sort of dancealong. It’s smart. You can’t just take one format (theatre) and shift it directly to another medium and expect anyone to be interested. This project recognizes that every medium has its own language.
- Speaking Of Extending The Arts: There’s a new initiative designed to translate the arts beyond their traditional spaces with the use of technology. The aim is that by using devices such as mobile phones, Extended Reality (XR) headsets and streaming into live performance environments, or even in the home, audiences will be able to experience live performance in entirely new ways.
- Lastly – This One Just For Fun: Author Stephen King was dismayed to read that his local paper in Maine was planning to cut book reviews. He tweeted his displeasure. The newspaper responded with a challenge: find us 100 new subscribers and we’ll keep the reviews. Within a day or two, more than 200 readers had signed up to subscribe and the paper reinstated the reviews. So: was this a case of the paper holding reviews hostage? Or was it a quick-witted editor who saw an opportunity and went for it?