Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Roll Over Bono

Roll Over Bono

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Beethoven

The fastest-selling online song ever is the Live8 version of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" that Paul McCartney sang with U2, the Guardian reports.

But that doesn't hold a candle to the boy from Bonn.

The BBC gave away digital versions of Ludwig van Beethoven's works in June, and the complete nine symphonies alone were downloaded 1.4 million times, the Beeb reported.

The Beatle-Bono sung version of Sgt. Pepper's started off strong, but has sold just 20,000 times online in the two weeks that it's been available.

The classical music industry is trying to figure out why listeners went loony over Ludwig.

To put another perspective on the success of the Beethoven downloads, according to Matthew Cosgrove, director of Warner Classics, it would take a commercial CD recording of the complete Beethoven symphonies "upwards of five years" to sell as many downloads as were shifted from the BBC website in two weeks. The BBC has been stunned by the response - so much so that its director general, Mark Thompson, opened his annual report with Beethoven's inscription on the score of the Missa Solemnis: "From the heart ... May it go again to the heart!" ...

Roger Wright, the controller of Radio 3, said it was "clear that people had been coming to Beethoven for the first time" through the Beethoven downloads. This was clear, he said, since more people downloaded Symphonies No. 1 and 2 then No. 3, the Eroica, which even Blinq can hum.

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About this blog
Daniel Rubin is a columnist and The Inquirer's director of social media. Since joining newspaper as a staff writer in 1988, Daniel Rubin has reported from Mayfair to Macedonia, 27 countries in all. He has been the European Correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers and for two years he sat at home and wrote Blinq, the paper's first daily blog. Dan began newspaper work in Norfolk and Louisville, Ky., after getting his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Northwestern University. He has lived in all four commonwealths, most recently in Pennsylvania. He teaches urban journalism at the University of Pennsylvania

Email Blinq here. My day job - Inquirer metro columnist - is here.

Reach Daniel at drubin@phillynews.com.

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