Melba Recordings

"... a label of fragrant distinction"

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News from Melba Recordings

Go behind the scenes for insights on our recordings, our artists and our future plans. Follow our artists' schedules and share the excitement of their journeys.

Brave Little Voice

Tuesday, 2 January 2001 - 12:00am

MARIA VANDAMME'S launch of a new classical music label, Melba Recordings, in Australia in early 2000 was, to say the least, counter cyclical. Classical music recordings are doing it tough worldwide. They've slipped to less than 3 per cent of the US's $12.2 billion annual music sales, for instance, according to The Economist magazine.

Yet in less than a year, Melba has carved itself a niche. According to Les Hodge, owner of music distributor Sonart, and the [then] distributor of Melba, its success has been outstanding compared to either international or Australian classical releases. "They are selling more at full price (apart from very popular recordings) than any other classical recordings, local and international," he says. "People are responding to the repertoire and the artists!" Maria Vandamme quotes Hodge to explain the label's success: "He says that the reason for our success is that each recording is special, and there is a feeling in the marketplace that everything we do is of interest."

Melba Recordings has been privately backed, allowing Vandamme the creative control she desires. Of Melba Recordings' four releases to date, its biggest seller (at the time of publication) has been Massenet Amoureuse: Sacred and Profane Arias , with just over 1,000 copies sold. The other recordings, such as Seduction: Songs by Richard Strauss, conducted by Simone Young , has sold almost 1,000 copies since July; The Power of Love: British Opera Arias and The Floral Dance and other Peter Dawson Favourites have sold less than half those numbers each since August.

David Meagher
The Australian Financial Review Magazine