Decca is hoping to expand its classical sales in the US with a series of themed compilation albums similar to those which scored several chart successes in the UK.
The move is part of a drive by Max Hole, chairman and CEO of Universal Music’s international operations, to put more emphasis on the classical division, which includes the Decca and Deutsche Grammophon labels.
In January, Hole recruited Elizabeth Sobol, formerly managing director of IMG in the Americas, to become president and CEO of Decca in the US.
Recently, Graham Southern, formerly director of catalogue at Decca UK, has been making fortnightly trips across the Atlantic to advise on a strategy for reissues targeting primarily newcomers to classical.
Among initial releases planned are Classical Music For Dogs and Classical Music For Your Gay Wedding, both to be launched as digital-only releases initially.
Mr Southern said Decca US conducted extensive research into what tracks dog lovers and their pets favoured besides the obvious Bach and Hugo Wolf. ‘There are lots of doggie websites in the US, including ones where dogs can find friends that they never actually meet.’ Canine favourites, he said, tended to be similar to those of humans: melodious tunes such as that from Beethoven’s Moonlight sonata.
He is also optimistic about the gay wedding album. ‘Thirteen states in the US have already legalised gay weddings and 10 more are coming through in the next year,’ Mr Southern said.
The album has two versions of the cover art, with either a male or female couple kissing. But the music is similar to that on albums targeting heterosexual weddings. ‘There is no difference in their music choices,’ Mr Southern said. ‘They just want to be marketed to differently.’
A third album, planned for early next year, will be released as a CD. Classical Music For Driving will target the trucker market with tracks of vigorous, fast-moving music such as The Ride of the Valkyries. One of the main outlets, Mr Southern said, would be the Truckstop chain of some 460 outlets in the US.