Korea Times

Korean musician launches classical music streaming app

‘Classic Manager’ offers tens of thousands of classical albums not protected by copyright

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 May, 2017, 1:40pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 May, 2017, 1:49pm

By Park Jin-hai

Micky Jung, CEO of the start-up Artists’ Card, recently launched the classical music streaming application, “Classic Manager.”

After winning a government subsidy and establishing the education program, Youth Start-up Academy, his company, housed in the Pangyo IT Cluster, made an open-source, membership-free application, where anyone can view compiled data of 23,000 international classical and jazz musicians and live-stream 5,300 classical music albums and 91,000 repertories no longer protected by copyright.

The Saint Petersburg Conservatory-educated aspiring composer, who released a number of classical music albums, says his urge to make a difference in the closed world of classical music inspired him to create the application he calls a “channel.”

Classical music streaming application, “Classic Manager,” launched by Jung 

“The Classical industry is a conservative and closed culture, which made the music most difficult to access. Beethoven’s music should have been made easier to access than, for instance, K-pop boy band EXO’s, but in reality, it is not,” said the 34-year-old entrepreneur. “People who want to learn to play a Beethoven piece buy the score and a CD, but still they don’t know how to begin to learn the piece. The culture _ as if it is made difficult only to allow the few with refined tastes in music who can relish these pieces _ is mostly unchanged since its beginning and this is making the whole industry doomed.”

He says K-pop’s popularity, now stronger than J-pop, stems from its accessibility and the same should be done for classical music, which has timeless power to move people.

“K-pop ascended in the global music industry, riding on the free channel of YouTube. But, the only thing YouTube has done is to provide a platform for the music to reach people. I wanted to make such a channel, connecting music lovers to humanity’s musical treasures and enabling anyone to listen and learn classical music, free of barriers. Easier access means more public interest for classical music, which in turn can nurture the whole industry.”

In classical music’s video streaming service, YouTube comes to mind first, while the International Music Score Library Project for open-source music scores also exists. But, in terms of classical music sources, no business is wielding dominant power and that is where he thought he should pre-empt the market.   

Although his company is three months old, the initial response from users is great, with 23,000 people having already downloaded the “Classic Manager.”

Jung, who previously worked for a sound software/hardware company, developed an algorithm which automatically filters music freshly freed from copyrights and adds them to its free archives of music. He says “Classic Manager” boasts of a vast archive of music thanks to his country-specific filtering and has better sound quality than their European rivals, which mostly service music from old mono records. 

The musician-turned entrepreneur — based on local success — plans to launch the application in Japan this month and in China and Southeast Asian countries later this year.  

Jung says ultimately he wants to turn it into a classical music multi-library, where users can stream and download music, scores, musician information and academic theses. As he himself was one of many classical musicians who had a hard time trying to make a living in Korea — his six albums earned him some recognition but didn’t make him any richer to say the least — Jung also plans to help talented young musicians release albums, market them through his application and sell their concert tickets as well. 

“Everybody says releasing classic albums is a money-losing business. By having a platform where artists can easily release their albums and distribute them, we can change all that so artists can get the biggest share of their own creations,” he said.

Read the original article at Korea Times