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Tracks longer than 7 min. "grayed out" on major classical labels
‎2012-04-02 07:33 AM

After being a Napster/Rhapsody subscriber for years, Spotify was a breath of fresh air when I found it. As primarily a classical listener, I find that Spotify makes it so much easier to search for classical music than Rhapsody or now-defunct Napster, and gapless playback was a long-awaited innovation.


However, I still subscribe to Rhapsody (in addition to Spotify premium), in large part because on Spotify, most tracks over 7 min. on Universal-owned labels (such as Decca, Phillips, and Deutsche Grammophon) are unavailable ("grayed out"). Some albums on these labels appear to be exceptions to this rule, but unfortunately, they are still rather rare.


I recognize that for many recordings, the permission of the copyright holder can't be obtained, and in that case the album will often simply be absent from Spotify entirely. But in almost every case, an album with "grayed out" tracks on Spotify will be available unrestricted on Rhapsody. What does Rhapsody know that Spotify doesn't?


This issue is especially frustrating for classical music, because the grayed out track(s) rarely represent a stand-alone "song," but rather an integral part of a larger work, without which the other, available tracks are of little value. For example, most symphonies, from Mozart to Mahler, have at least one movement lasting over 7 minutes. And so the Spotify classical catalog sits brimming with acclaimed recordings of important repertoire, which are rendered essentially unlistenable due to a smattering of unavailable tracks.


Below is just a sampler out of hundreds of examples. Every one of the examples listed below is available unrestricted on Rhapsody, for same price per month as Spotify Premium.


Good folks at Spotify, will there be a "thaw" on these and other affected albums at some point? Every once in a while, I see an album that formerly had restricted tracks become fully available, but it's all too rare when that happens.


– Mahler: The Symphonies (Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, New York Philharmonic Orchestra & Wiener Philharmoniker / Leonard Bernstein)


– Carter: Variations for Orchestra / Babbitt: Correspondences / Schuller: Spectra for Orchestra / Cage: Atlas eclipticalis (Chicago Symphony Orchestra & James Levine)


– Mendelssohn: The Complete Symphonies (Wiener Philharmoniker & Christoph von Dohnanyi)


– Mosolov: Iron Foundry / Prokofiev: Symphony No.3 / Varèse: Arcana (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra & Riccardo Chailly)


– Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Metropolitan Opera Orchestra & James Levine)


– The Celibidache Edition (Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra & Sergiu Celibidache)


– Franck: Violin Sonata / Brahms: Horn Trio (Itzhak Perlman, Barry Tuckwell & Vladimir Ashkenazy)


– Radu Lupu: Complete Decca Concerto Recordings