Friday, June 26, 2009

Media Player: Parsing Error & Silverlight Error

Over the past 3 days, I've gotten a couple different complaints about the NML's media player. The error everyone is getting looks like this: Then, it appears that once you get that error in whatever web browser you are using, the other 2 players (Windows Media Player and Flash) no longer work!

Thankfully, there is a really easy solution. All you have to do is clear cookies and clear cache from your web browser. If you have any trouble figuring out how to do that either check out the two links about cookies/cache or send me an email and I'll walk you through it!

tvick at naxosusa dot com
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Getting an Invalid Argument Error on the NML?

I've received a couple of different emails about the streaming.asp error some students receive when trying to stream music from the NML. If you've ever gotten the error, it should look like this:

As you can see, you'll get an Invalid argument message, which will then continue to display when you try to stream music using Flash, Silverlight or Windows Media Player until you adjust your settings in either Internet Explorer, Safari or Firefox. Now, the key here is not to panic. I know website errors make my body temperature rise and my palms start sweating, but I promise there is no need for such a reaction anymore!

The key is to clear cookies. Yes - this will stress some of you out even more than the error message, but in order to get the NML to work after you receive that error message, you must delete cookies! (Picture courtesy of Scott Beale / Laughing Squid)

According to Ask Leo, cookies are simply a way for websites to remember who you are the next time you visit. He sites as a great example:
When you visit a site like and log in, Amazon might place a cookie on your machine that contains your account name, and the fact that you're logged in. When you come back a day later picks up the cookie and sees who you are and that you had successfully logged in the day before.

So if you rely on cookies to remember who you are for websites, make sure you have a record before you delete cookies! The best way I've found is to keep either a log on a table in Word, Excel, or just keep a running list at your desk. As always, if you have any questions, be sure and ask!
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Monday, June 22, 2009

Naxos Music Library Content Suggestions

It's that time of year again where I get antsy for new music, and who better to get suggestions from than you?

For example, I was going through our catalog and realized we don't have much Moses Hogan music. Since I am the office choir nerd, I thought that Moses Hogan definitely needs to be in the Naxos Music Library. His music pretty much defined my choir experience in high school (enter Elijah Rock!, The Battle of Jericho, Wade in the Water, Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel, My Soul's Been Anchored in the Lord...the list goes on...).

If you're going through the Naxos Music Library (Jazz, or Spoken Library too!) and think we need to add something to our catalog, let us know in the comments! I'd love to get more ideas for content you want in the NML. Better yet - I challenge you to come up with your favorite composer we don't have in the NML yet!Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pick of the Week: I Dreamed About You - Songs of Love and Longing from World War II

As we are 2 days away from Father's Day (June 21 for those of you who don't know) I thought it only appropriate to create a Pick of the Week based on what my Dad would dig. He's obsessed with WWI and WWII. Growing up, we spent a lot of time walking around battlefields throughout France where my great grandfathers served. While most kids got a Gameboy for Christmas, we would get lectures on these Great United States. At the time I resented all that gab, but now I cherish our family folklore more than anything.

However, one of the things I find so interesting about the period of 1910-1945 is the music. It really conveys how good and bad things were during those times. I can't imagine anything more difficult than sending loved ones off to war, and anything more joyous than having them home safe. That being said, I bring you I Dreamed About You - Songs of Love and Longing from World War II. It is a great collection of music from the 1940s from ABC Classics. Here's a quick song listing:

1. Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree
2. We'll Meet Again
3. Amor
4. It's Been A Long, Long Time
5. Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive
6. I'll Walk Alone
7. I Cried for You
8. Nightingale
9. A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
10. Room 504
11. Why Don't You Do Right?
12. Poinciana
13. I'm Beginning to See the Light
14. Star Eyes
15. I've Heard That Song Before
16. Don't Fence Me In
17. Frenesi
18. Home Town

I'm planning on putting together a playlist for my Dad on his account. Do you have any suggestions for all the Dad's out there? Hope you have a great Father's Day!

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Are Music Subscription Services Working?

On Wednesday, John Bailey (Program Director over at KBIA) posted a very thoughtful blog about music subscription services. We've all known about the trials and tribulations of Napster, Rhapsody, and the many other attempts to direct music lovers to subscription-based music. There isn't a ton of inspiring information on the success of any of those models, so hopefully I can shed some light on what I think makes our model successful.

We have a very focused purpose which is to educate classical music students and aficionados about the history of music. We don't have any limitations on how much you can stream, and the only way you can increase the cost is by getting a higher-quality stream. Plus, we just upgraded to a Flash player, which streams at 96kbps (Near CD-Quality) and 192kbps (CD Quality), instead of our previous rates with Windows Media Player (64kpbs and 128kbps).

Clearly, classical music remains an important part of a music student's education and is used as background music in countless movies, video games, commercials, TV Shows, websites, etc. A subscription service is the perfect way to add to anyone's classical music collection, especially since you can take it with you wherever you go in the world with an Internet connection. You don't have to overload your computer or iPod with hundreds of megabytes, which is a MAJOR problem for me. Plus, it's so cheap! It's like buying 1 or 2 new CDs every month, even though we add roughly 500 tracks a month (if not more) from a ton of labels.

Are you using a music subscription service and which is your favorite? Better yet - if you do subscribe, what have you discovered that you'd otherwise have no idea about?
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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Key Word Search Function Down

We haven't received any inquires about the Key Word Search function yet, but wanted to let everyone know that our KWS server is down. We are in the process of rebooting it, but it will not be complete until tonight.

Please be advised that the Advanced Search function works. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Taylor or Nick and we'll help you find what you're looking for. Contact us at NMLHELP at NAXOSUSA dot COM.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

IE8 Compatibility with the NML

The latest and greatest version of Internet Explorer 8.0 was released back in March, but many of our users have been slow to download it. (We haven't updated our office yet either - so don't feel alone)! Needless to say, there are still some bugs that the guys over at Microsoft are still working out, and one of the major ones affecting many websites is the lack of compatibility with most websites.

Sadly, ours is one of those that's being affected! However, there is a remedy to IE8's compatibility issues. I found these instructions online from Craig Bailey.
  1. Go to the TOOLS menu
  3. Select the check mark box titled "Display all websites in Compatibility View" near the bottom of the pop up window
  4. Click CLOSE
Hopefully this will resolve some of the trouble with viewing the NML in IE8.0. If you have better instructions and/or more insight into IE8.0 we'd love to hear from you!

Google's homeage to Stravinsky

Have you checked out the Google homepage? One of my coworkers discovered the homage to Stravinsky (it's his birthday today)! Which pieces are represented?

In case it goes away or Google changes it before you can get there, here's what it looks like:

Google homepage on June 17, 2009
Pretty cool, huh? I'll give you a hint. The part on the left can be found in Fantasia 2000 and the part on the right started a major uproar when it was first performed. The crowd actually rioted!! Who says classical music is boring and for stuffy old people?

LA Times Articles: Who says subscription music services are dead?

Don't you love Google alerts? Well, I sure do. Otherwise, I'd miss important articles like the one from the L.A. Times! They just interviewed our CEO and our National Manager about the varying music subscription services Naxos offers. A major thank you is in order to our hard working PR gals at Naxos and to Jon Healey for a great article. Pretty fantastic way to start my Wednesday. You can find the article on L.A. Times website here or just keep reading below!

Technology: The business and culture of our digital lives, from the L.A. Times

Who says subscription music services are dead?

6:16 PM, June 16, 2009
campus music services, classical music, MP3, Napster, Naxos, online music, Rhapsody, subscription music Consumers have been slow to embrace music subscription services, so much so that Napster recently slashed its price by more than half to try to spur growth. Even services that colleges offered for free (or with the charge buried in other student fees) failed to catch on (killing off start-ups Ruckus and Cdigix), a testament to the enduring popularity of music-sharing and free downloading on campus. But one music industry player says it's actually "extremely successful" with a subscription music-on-demand service for the college market. That would be Naxos, which specializes in ... classical music. And it's prices aren't cheap, either.

This is a lesson in the value of finding the right niche in a time of technological upheaval. Naxos is both an independent classical-music label and a distributor of classical music. That's classical as in Charles Ives symphonies, not John Williamssoundtracks (which Naxos of America Chief Executive Jim Selby refers to as "crossover" classical). Using music from its own and its customers' rosters, it put together a service called the Naxos Music Library that's both an online jukebox and a classical-music database. (Note: the service offers no downloads, tethered or otherwise. It's streaming only.) "The metadata is incredibly deep," Sean Hickey, sales and business development manager for Naxos, said in a recent interview. That information -- which is comparatively sparse on other services -- is crucial to Naxos' target audience: music students, educators and musicians. They pay $220 to $240 a year for the service (which is sold only in bundles of five or more subscriptions), compared with $60 for Napster's music-on-demand offering. Selby said Naxos has signed up more than 1,000 colleges and universities for the service, collecting hundreds of thousands of subscribers there. Subscription sales are up 35% year over year, Selby said. It helps that there are more than 600 accredited music schools in the U.S., as well as music degree programs at many other institutions. The company is offering the service to younger students too, having just signed up the public school systems in Baltimore and Chicago. "It's not Rhapsody, but it's not meant to be," Selby said. "There's lot of educational tools on there.... No one else is trying to do that."

By the way, Naxos claims that the Naxos Music Library is prospering with no contributions from the major record companies.

The subscription service is just one of the company's efforts to attract and retain a new generation of customers. It's made about 350 podcasts that combine music and commentary from authoritative sources. Every member of its 12-person marketing staff is blogging about releases and performances, commenting on other blogs and Twittering, Selby said. So are many of Naxos' artists, who the company encourages to self-promote through social networks. "A lot of the things the pop guys are doing, these guys are doing as well." He hasn't seen a way yet to sell music through the likes of Facebook, and he's not sure how it could be done. But those networks are a good way to spread reviews, which are still the biggest driver of Naxos' sales, he said.

It also supplies tracks to online stores and has one of its own -- One problem that vexed Naxos and other suppliers of classical music was the 99-cents-per-track business model at iTunes and its ilk, which priced entire symphonies and other lengthy classical pieces the same as a two-and-a-half-minute pop song. Naxos' response was to offer longer pieces only as part of a full-album purchase, not individual sales. This year, though, the company is offering individual works for sale with prices scaled to the length of the piece. The new offer may not matter much to "core classical buyers," who want the whole album anyway, Selby said. But it should help attract casual fans, who are an important source of growth for the genre.

Naxos has thrown itself into digital distribution despite the fact that its CD sales haven't slumped as badly as those in other genres, Selby said. Classical music fans haven't been as quick to shift to MP3s, nor has Naxos been reliant on the big-box retailers that have cut their support for CDs. (Most of the company's sales are through online retailers that specialize in classical music.) That helps explain why the company had its best year ever in 2007, and was on track to top those results in 2008 until the bottom fell out of the economy. This year looks good so far, Selby said, with first quarter sales in line with 2007 and April and May's results even better. Here's hoping that its results are a leading indicator for the economy in general.
-- Jon Healey

Healey writes editorials for The Times' Opinion Manufacturing Division.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Van Cliburn Recordings Added to the NML!

VanCliburn 2009 Poster
We'd like to officially welcome the Van Cliburn Competition to the NML!

The recordings from the 2009 preliminary rounds are already available in the NML, and we're uploading the rest of the competition as I write this! We're also pleased to announce that all of the semi-finals will also be uploaded!

You can hear the winners' recordings by searching these catalog numbers:

Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Gold Medalists Nobuyuki Tsujii: VCF090523D Haochen Zhang: VCF090525F.

You can hear all of the other full length recordings inside the Naxos Music Library, as well as purchase them at our download store:

Monday, June 8, 2009

Top 10 "Must Own" Classical Pieces

I can never seem to remember which pieces have appeared in commercials and movies, but thankfully one of my colleagues came up with a list that should help! All of the titles listed below can be found in any number of moving pictures and many are typically use as gag music. You know, where some Looney Tunes character drops an anvil on another Looney Tunes character? I know there's more out there than just these top 10, so add more when you hear em! (Would be cool to list where you heard it too...)
  1. Adagio for Strings, Op. 11 by Samuel Barber (8.559088)
  2. Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30, TrV 176 by Richard Strauss (8.550182)
  3. The Nutcracker by Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky (8.550324-25)
  4. Carmen by Georges Bizet (8.660005-07)
  5. The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi (8.550056)
  6. Der Ring by Richard Wagner (8.550211)
  7. Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (8.557893)
  8. Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland (8.550282)
  9. Gayane by Aram Il'yick Khachaturian (8.550085)
  10. Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi (8.660013-14)

Join Us for Our Playlist Webinar - 6/10/09 11am CST!

I will be hosting a second webinar on how to convert, edit and create playlists on the Naxos Music Library. Our first one was a success because of all the members who joined me, so I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you all! Here are the details:

Who: Taylor Vick & Naxos Music Library
What: Playlist Webinar
Where: - "NaxosMusicLibrary" is the room name
When: June 10, 2009 11AM CST

If you have any questions about how to login, or to receive an official invite, please email me at! See you there!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Enter the world of Blogger...

I have been avoiding Blogger for awhile now, content to let all my brilliant thoughts about classical music reside on Twitter, MySpace or Facebook. But after having a great conversation with our social media guru at Naxos of America (David of the PMS #286 Appreciation Society Blog), I finally decided to bite the bullet and create a dedicated Blog to my classical music meanderings.

The Naxos Music Library is full of music: classical, pop/rock, world, asian, jazz, video game music, renaissance, romantic, baroque, opera, ballet, modern, just to name a few. Hopefully this blog will grow to encompass all the different genres. My hope is to get our collective wisdom to contribute to the blog. Being a life-long student of musicology, I am still learning about composers, musicians, styles of music and instruments. I'm not sure an entire lifetime would be enough to learn all there is to know about music, so feel free to post comments at will!

Additionally, there will be plenty of information focused on the ins and outs of the Naxos Music Library. Occasionally our users will have questions about how to use the website, or spot errors in the library, so I will address those questions here! If there is ever anything you need to know (regardless of if you subscribe or not!) I'll help you find the answers you need. I am excited about this musical journey and hope you are too!