One thing which streaming did to revolutionise the music world – and not necessarily for the better – was to allow people to easily listen to old records. Time was if you wanted to do this, you needed to source the original albums or singles – an expensive and time consuming activity. But this has created another problem.
It’s given old songs a big advantage over new ones. The older songs only had to compete with other songs out at the same time – newer songs have to not only do that, but compete with most things released in the past too. Around two thirds of all streamed music is so-called catalogue material – anything released more than 18 months ago.
Rest assured this is something Pete Tong has no doubt noticed – he’s been involved with record labels in some form or another since the 1980s. Indeed, his CV more or less confirms him to be the Miss Rabbit of dance music. So it’s with the knowledge the public have a taste for old music that partly led to him touring with an orchestra.
And it’s with this orchestra that he goes around playing the songs which made him a fortune when he supported them the first time around. Much like his old Radio 1 friend Judge Jules, he now spends an increasing amount of time at evenings where he can pretend for a few hours that time stopped back in 1999.
Cream and Haçienda also announced recently that they were doing classical shows. Why? Money, pure and simple. There’s only so many times you can get people to listen to the same old songs – but if you can repackage the music and make it look brand new, they’ll come to listen all over again. Add in the fact classical music has more selling opportunities – physical sales remain quite strong in the genre – and you have a money making opportunity of pretty big proportions.
The show is back next year, and visits Wales and Scotland this time – Covid restrictions previously meant only England could be on the bill. I’m told it’s a good show…