Live performances of Beethovenís complete symphonies have attracted 1,369,893 download requests in a BBC trial which was offered as part of Radio 3ís The Beethoven Experience.
The downloads were from Radio 3 programmes featuring live performances from the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester of Beethovenís nine symphonies by the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Gianandrea Noseda and introduced by Radio 3 presenters Petroc Trelawny and Sarah Walker. The programmes were available free of charge and therefore not eligible for the Official UK Download or Top 40 Singles charts, although the publicís enthusiasm for the programmes is evident from the individual totals:
  • Symphony no 1 (available to download from June 6 to 13) - 164,662
  • Symphony no 2 (June 7 to 14) - 154,496
  • Symphony no 3 (June 6 to 13) - 89,318
  • Symphony no 4 (June 7 to 14) - 108,958
  • Symphony no 5 (June 7 to 14) - 139,905
  • Symphony no 6 (June 28 to July 4) - 220,461
  • Symphony no 7 (June 29 to July 5) - 185,718
  • Symphony no 8 (June 30 to July 6) - 148,553
  • Symphony no 9 (July 1 to 7) - 157,822
  • TOTAL - 1,369,893

Roger Wright, Controller BBC Radio 3, says:
ìThis download experiment began as an added extra to our Beethoven Experience and quickly took on a life of its own. The remarkable number of downloads has already sparked a healthy debate about the place of classical music in the digital world. I am thrilled that Radio 3 has shown how wide the interest is in quality classical music and demonstrated how innovation and the use of new technology can find new audiences.î

ìWe hoped this trial would give us an idea of audiencesí demand for radio downloads and itís certainly done that,î said Simon Nelson, Controller of BBC Radio and Music Interactive. ìRadio is changing and the BBC is working hard to give audiences more control over when and how they listen.î
The downloads were available for seven days after their broadcast as well as available streamed for seven days from the BBC Radio Player. The trial formed part of Radio 3ís Beethoven Experience (5-10 June), in which the complete works of Beethoven were broadcast in one week.
The BBC recently announced it will be offering up to 20 programmes as podcasts and downloads, as a time-limited trial to give a more detailed picture of audiencesí appetite for downloads and to inform the development of the BBC strategy for audio downloads and on-demand content. More details are available at


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