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Dutch-based ‘Netflix of classical music’ Symphony bags €6.5M, to go live on September 24

Dutch-based Symphony, a new online streaming service to make music from the world’s top orchestras available to the global audience, announced on Tuesday, September 20, that it has raised €6.5M in a round of funding from a group of 14 Dutch entrepreneurs and investors.

While online live concert streaming has been a common practice since the Covid era, it is still difficult for interested people to find the right concert according to their differences. And this is what Symphony aims to solve. The company says that before its advent, there was nothing to ‘guide, advise or inspire’ music lovers.

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With a team of 30 people, also helped put together by the investors, Symphony will go live in the Netherlands and a host of English-speaking countries, including the UK, the US, Canada, and Australia, on Saturday, September 24.

Other countries will follow in early 2023. The cost for subscribers currently is €9.95 per month.

Brief about Symphony
Symphony aims to introduce the works of famous composers like Mahler, Tchaikovsky, and Beethoven to a broad global audience. Its subscribers will receive front-row seats, backstage passes, and behind-the-scenes tales of the music, as well as exclusive interviews with soloists and conductors.

The platform has been built by Videodock, the company responsible for live streaming the Dutch parliament. A beta test has been running in a limited number of countries since June.

Founders of Symphony
All of Symphony’s founders are from the Netherlands. Henk Bout, creator of DutchChannels, and former orchestra conductor and media entrepreneur Rob Overman developed the idea. Jose Evers, a former owner of the advertising firm XXS Amsterdam, and Bauke Freiburg, a co-founder and director of the digital creative agency Videodock, were chosen as the other two founders.

Rob Overman says, “We know that there’s a potential audience of around five hundred million classical music lovers worldwide. But many people still perceive classical music as inaccessible. Often simply for the practical reason, that concert halls are too far away in some countries. People also find it difficult to decide what they want to listen to. They would love recommendations to discover new pieces, to hear more of what they already like and to find music that suits their mood. They are also interested in the stories behind the music. Symphony offers all this and more.”

Orchestras supporting Symphony
Symphony’s co-founder Rob Overman first began pitching his concept to orchestras two years ago, during the Covid era. Numerous people answered right away with enthusiasm. Although orchestras learned they could post their excellent recordings online, it was incredibly challenging to make a profit from online ticket sales. The Symphony contract stipulates that the orchestras will get half of the streaming service’s profits.

Overman says, “You can compare Symphony to UEFA’s Champions League. It generates more revenue and more viewers than the national football teams could individually. We want to achieve the same for the orchestras.”

Some of the participating orchestras include the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, The Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Czech Philharmonic, and the Budapest Festival Orchestra. More orchestras are said to follow this autumn and next year.

Each of the participating orchestras will webcast four live performances each year as part of ‘Symphony Night Live’. The full-length recordings will include interviews, behind-the-scenes, stories, and commentary by experts.

Dominic Seldis and Tommy Pearson
To make the music pleasant and interesting for a broad audience, Symphony has chosen two “exceptional” presenters – Tommy Pearson, a former BBC reporter and expert in classical music, and Dominic Seldis, a renowned solo bassist for the Concertgebouw Orchestra and a judge on the TV programme Maestro.

The two presenters will give context, take viewers backstage, and have conversations with experts about the performance that evening, much like real sports reporters would.

Dominic Seldis says, “I don’t want to make music for a handful of experts, I want to share my passion for classical music with the world. Symphony finally makes that possible for me.”