Classical Gets Web Boost

Classical music fans will be happy to learn that Vivendi Universal has decided to give two of its classical labels a state-of-the-art web facelift. Decca and Philips Classics are combining their resources and launching a single new site this month designed by trendy web developer Razorfish.

Taking a page from their rock and jazz web counterparts, the classical sites feature "rarely seen" video footage of artists in recording sessions, along with tour dates, artist and composer biographies, email newsletters, and new release listings. In addition, Razorfish says it has created links to connect users to the many other sites associated with the Decca and Philips Classics labels, such as country-specific information in native languages.

Razorfish worked closely with Decca to "redefine and redevelop" its online identity in order to provide a new resource for classical and crossover music aficionados, retailers, music fans, academics, and industry professionals. "The site provides in-depth information about Decca and Philips artists and recordings and allows users access to a searchable catalogue and to preview international new releases," says Razorfsih.

Razorfish's Steve Willcocks explains, "With over 3000 recordings currently available, the high volume of content, video, and audio made the site a challenge. Our usability testing regarding the way consumers access information on artists and albums provided the basis for the information design. The result is a navigation that aims to be easy to use, despite the complex archive of material it supports. It's a valuable information resource—a real music lover's site."