The Riddle of Streaming for Jazz and Classical

Forgive me if this the wrong place/ to post.

One of the things that streaming has yet to work out is how to deal with/handle/HELP classical and jazz catalogues (world music too.) These music communities are underserved, and it is largely due to the massive organization effort it would take to set up a slightly different streaming set up, on the back end, to allow searching, uploading etc, as the credits are quite different. (I won’t go into detail, but if you don’t know how or why, do some digging-reading, or ask me.)

To my mind this would be a good thing to tackle here for 2 reasons:

  1. Music streaming should include these wonderful catalogues of music, and create ways for those involved in these types of music to have streaming revenue too. We don’t want these music forms left in the dust, and especially now with the pandemic, this is a music community that is struggling too.
  2. This is another chance perhaps for Resonate to have yet another unique offering. If it is done right, and done well it would be one of the first streaming services to help this community. It would take a lot of brainstorming to crack this, but by golly, look how many brains there are here.

I assume that a lot of, but not all of these catalogues may involve labels, which is over my head, but I am positive if we want to, this might be a thing to tackle.



I don’t know much about this personally, but it sounds really interesting!

Do you have any ideas for this that maybe we can work from to get the brainstorming session going?



Hi Sam,
Yes tons of ideas. So there needs to be a slightly different way to handle these catalogues. For example, Bach: Ok tons of music. Many times the same pieces played by countless performers on record, over the past how many years of recorded music history. So these recordings need to be searchable by performer, conductor, etc. A lot of these catalogues will be owned by a label, because uniquely classical music isn’t often being recorded independently. (Although I for one would jump at that chance to stick two mics in front of any orchestra I can find…) Essentially, if I go to a streaming platform and I want to listen to Bach’s Organ Fugues, there’s tons to start, but being played by whom? Which recording? Who owns those recordings? It gets complicated fast.
This is slightly different with Jazz music, but the label scenario will be the same. In the case of jazz we are dealing, in the case of early jazz some mid sized ensemble works which may be ‘Historical Recordings’, for lack of a better term, or new recordings of old performances (Which is funny in the cannon of jazz, because its supposed to be improvised, but once we started recording it… it changed it. I digress…) There is also newer jazz, which will be more closer to modern music catalogues, with direct rights holders, with labels and without labels.
Is this helping?
What ideas are needed? I see the problems, but as some one who doesn’t program these sorts of things all I know is what is needed. Different search parameters are needed.


What a great question KM! :clap: This is another of those issues that frustrates me with the typical streaming services for exactly the reasons you describe, especially with classical music. Being able to search my performer or even instrument (e.g. piano vs harpsichord) is really handy.

I used to use Idagio, a streaming service dedicated exclusively to classical music and that has agreements with the major classical labels (Primephonic is another one). They’ve come up with their own solutions to a lot of the particularities around searching for / categorising / saving collections of classical recordings.

I particularly liked the way Idagio managed search, allowing you to search by:

  • composer (e.g. find all music written by J.S. Bach)
  • performer (e.g. find all music performed by Angela Hewitt)
  • work (e.g. find all recordings of The Well Tempered Clavier)
  • album (e.g. find Angela Hewitt’s recording of The Well Tempered Clavier)*
  • playlist

I’m certainly no expert, but I think it’s definitely worth better understanding how these services have approached some of these questions. I’m less experienced with Jazz recordings, but I would imagine that some of these principles would apply there too?

Additionally, it’s also worth considering that a lot of classical recordings are pretty long. I’m not sure how Resonate currently determines the length of playback required to determine whether a track has been played or not, but it may be necessary to revisit that if the library starts to include lots of long tracks. Primephonic have an interesting take on this here:


@KallieMarie and @jpick, thank you both for your input. You both seem extremely knowledgeable about this, and you are bringing up some great concerns.

I think @KallieMarie hit it right on the head with the fact that an extensive amount of input fields and search filters would need to be available for the Resonate catalog. First, Resonate would need to have that information available, and then I think the developers could just code these search parameters into the player. We could potentially have all of this info inputted into the system via our upload tool that is being built right now, and then we could work to create the right tags and/or search filters based on these parameters. I would be interested to see how much this could benefit the current Resonate catalog, but definitely something to keep in mind moving forward.

@auggod do you have any ideas on the technical side of bringing this solution to light in the future?


admin note: comment above by @Sam_Martyn shortened. why: to hone original discussion theme. New topic continues here:

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Adding this to the conversation: Apple Is Building a Classical Music Streaming App


That’ll be interesting to follow along with. I don’t think it’s doing anything different for compensation, but it sounds like they’ll have additional credits and advanced search features which should be beneficial. Thanks for sharing!

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This is a really interesting discussion and I think KallieMarie is exactly right on all points — this is an underserved area of music, largely having to do with the challenges involved with classical metadata; and, also that it’s an opportunity for someone to step in and do it “right.”

I’m a new member here (hey everybody), and this conversation caught my eye as I was browsing around because as it happens my day job is in the music industry, working specifically with classical/jazz metadata — and I can attest to the difficulties in contending with the complexities of classical music metadata. The industrywide infrastructure of content delivery to DSPs (not to mention many DSPs’ internal infrastructure) is built with pop music in mind, so the challenges are quite broad.

The simple fact that for many pieces of classical music, there isn’t necessarly any one, single, definitive, canonical title is a considerable obstacle. Wording of classical pieces can vary slightly (and not so slightly) and still be considered correct / valid. Alternately (or additionally), titles might be known worldwide in a particular language, but presentation of the same piece’s title in other languages may still be common and considered equally correct. All of this can obviously lead to considerable inconsistency, which impacts things like searchability, discoverability, etc.

Further, individual classical tracks are often interrelated, i.e. multiple movements of the same “parent” classical composition. This adds another layer of complexity, with respect to how and whether artists / labels / DSPs choose to capture and deliver that relationship.

tl;dr: it’s complicated! But regardless, I think there is a definite need for music streaming/download services to begin approaching their infrastructure in a way that includes some of these classical-specific considerations.


Hi Bit! Welcome to the community! Lovely to have your perspective on this. Its an opportunity for our community here to shine, with classical AND jazz catalogues. It also opens the gates for lots of other ways people may start creating/sharing/and streaming music.
Hope you’ll enjoy your time here and dig into a lot of our conversations. :slight_smile: