PBS forms classical-music record label

It only makes sense. PBS, the most visible national broadcaster of classical-music-related programs, has decided to launch its own classical-music label. According to a recent story in Variety, several major record labels are competing for the rights to distribute the new label. It's common in the music business for larger labels to distribute smaller ones, and an association with the new PBS label is seen as a feather in the cap of whoever makes the deal.

This can only be good news to the beleaguered classical-music record industry, which has seen steady but modest sales over the last few years. As reported in "As We See It" in the September 1997 Stereophile, the average classical title sells fewer than 2000 copies worldwide in its first year of release, making it hard for labels to justify big-budget classical recording sessions.

So it remains to be seen whether PBS can defy the odds and make a business in the classical-music market. No details regarding titles are available, and PBS has yet to make its complete plans public---but when the names roll in, we'll let you know.