ArkivMusic Marks Its 10th Anniversary This Fall, Having Sold 3.25 Million Albums in a Decade of Specialized Classical Service

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ArkivMusic marks its 10th anniversary this Fall 2012 — having sold 3.25 million albums and counting since its launch in 2002.

Over the past decade, music lovers have come to rely on ArkivMusic as their dedicated, specialized source for classical recordings — with the largest selection, most intuitive search and most expeditious delivery of any retailer. ArkivMusic marks its 10th anniversary this Fall 2012 — having sold 3.25 million albums and counting since its launch in 2002. With a unique network of more than 20 distribution centers across the country, ArkivMusic makes more classical products available everyday than any other online retailer — some 120,000 titles on CD, DVD, SACD and Blu-ray Disc, as well as 320-kbps MP3 files. The company’s pioneering ArkivCD reissue program — an invaluable service for classical collectors — makes available more than 10,000 previously out-of-print albums from myriad major and independent labels. Coinciding with its 10th anniversary, ArkivMusic launches a website redesign this month with a fresh new interface.

“Our 10th anniversary is certainly a milestone of staying power,” says Eric Feidner, president of ArkivMusic. “The key, I think, is that we are passionate about what we offer, we love classical music. To service this unique niche you have to care a great deal about what you are selling not just how you sell it.”

Working closely together over the past decade, ArkivMusic and Naxos of America — the world’s leading independent producer and distributor of classical music — have become key partners. Naxos of America CEO Jim Selby says: “For me, our genre — classical music — is uniquely fortunate to have a successful boutique service online, which is what ArkivMusic provides. I don’t think any other sizable niche genre — jazz or Broadway, say — has one of such quality. Arkiv has become invaluable for many classical collectors. The site has a great search and browse engine, one especially designed for classical. They solved a lot of logistics and distribution issues with their supply chain that other retailers struggle with. Classical music is lucky to have dedicated retailer with the enthusiasm and expertise of ArkivMusic.”

The story of ArkivMusic is unique in Internet commerce, with the company “bootstrapped at the start with no external funding,” Feidner explains. “But there was a real business there and we were sure of it. With little cash, we established a business that was quickly profitable and self-sustaining. We were able to do things that were desired by the classical community but rarely thought feasible, such as our on-demand CD service for out-of-print titles that we started in 2004. We were able to license large catalogs from the major labels — titles that collectors knew were artistically worthy but that the big companies no longer saw as commercially viable. It’s a service that collectors love, and we’re very proud of it.”

In 2008, Steinway Music Instruments Inc. purchased ArkivMusic, although the company remains operationally independent. “There hasn’t been a real change with how we run the business, but we have a better capital base and more flexibility,” Feidner says. We’re devoted to serving the core classical consumer, but we’re also trying to make good on a larger mission — reaching out to as many general music lovers as possible and offering them a gateway into what for many is a challenging but incredibly rewarding genre of music to appreciate.

Looking to ArkivMusic’s next decade, Feidner says: “We have a lot of things on our ‘to-do list.’ One has to imagine what the market will be beyond the CD era. We are transforming what we have with ArkivMusic into a service that provides access to the music in expected and unanticipated ways. We’re neutral when it comes to the delivery mechanism for music. Whichever way classical lovers want to access their music — downloading, streaming, whatever the evolution of delivery — we will be there providing that dedicated service for them.”

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Amanda Sweet
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