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Streaming platform Symphony launched

Four entrepreneurs with a love for classical music worked out a plan: to offer a wide audience access to the symphonic world of Beethoven, Mahler, John Williams and other great composers. The result is Symphony, the 'Netflix of symphonic music'.

Watching live concerts online is no longer strange since corona. But then you have to know very well what you like and where you can find it. Music lovers are not taken by the hand and certainly not inspired or advised. That's exactly what Symphony will do.

Symphony is a new streaming video platform that makes music from top orchestras accessible to a worldwide audience. The subscriber gets a front row seat, as it were, but also a backstage pass: for compelling stories behind the music and exclusive interviews with soloists and conductors.

Five hundred million music lovers
The founders of Symphony are all of Dutch descent. Rob Overman, former orchestra director and media entrepreneur, came up with the concept together with Henk Bout, founder of video facilities company United Broadcast Facilities (now: EMG) and BeyondDutch, operator of streaming services. The team was completed with the arrival of José Evers, brand strategist and former partner of advertising agency XXS Amsterdam and developer of streaming video technology Bauke Freiburg.

Rob Overman: “We know that there is a potential audience of about 500 million classical music lovers worldwide. But many people still experience this music as inaccessible. Often for practical reasons: concert halls are too far away in some countries. People find it hard to decide what to listen to. She would like to receive recommendations for discovering new pieces. To hear more of what they already like. To find music that suits their mood. They are also curious about the stories behind the music. Symphony offers all that.”

Half of the proceeds go to the orchestras
Two years ago - in the middle of the corona time - Overman started approaching orchestras. Most responded enthusiastically. By now they had experienced that although they can put beautiful registrations online, it is very difficult to cover the costs from online ticket sales. A not unimportant part of the collaboration is that half of the revenue from the streaming service flows back to the orchestras. Overman: “You can compare Symphony with UEFA Champions League. It generates more revenue and more viewers than the national football teams would do individually. We also want to achieve that for the orchestras.”

The following are currently participating: the Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchester Symphonique de Montréal, Czech Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchester Zurich and the Budapest Festival Orchestra. More orchestras will follow this fall.

Dominik Winterling, managing director of the Concertgebouw Orchestra: “We were immediately enthusiastic about the idea of ​​a Champions League for the best orchestras in the world. By collaborating with our renowned fellow orchestras, we can join forces to reach a global audience.”

Symphony Night Live
Symphony will soon contain the most comprehensive collection of symphonic performances, ranging from Mozart's piano concertos to symphonies by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Mahler and film scores by composers such as John Williams and Ennio Morricone. And more and more music is added. All participating orchestras – now about ten, the aim is 25 – will each live stream four concerts a year under the title Symphony Night Live . Full-length recordings complete with interviews, behind the scenes stories and commentary by experts.

Dominic Seldis and Tommy Pearson
To present the music attractively, Symphony has found two special presenters: Dominic Seldis, known as solo bassist of the Concertgebouw Orchestra and the TV program Maestro, and Tommy Pearson, former BBC presenter and classical expert. Like true sports reporters, they provide background information, take viewers backstage and discuss the performance of that evening with connoisseurs. With a great deal of knowledge, but above all with an accessible, light tone, they offer the viewer context. In short: the new Olav Mol and Jack Plooij of classical music.

Fourteen Dutch investors
Thanks to fourteen Dutch investors with a big heart for classical music, about thirty people now work at the start-up. Since June, a beta test has been running in a limited number of countries. On September 24, Symphony went live in the Netherlands, Sweden and a large number of English-speaking countries: the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Australia. Other countries will follow in early 2023. The costs for the subscriber are €9.95 per month.