Klaus Heymann auf Naxos: Cheap Price but Quality Music! - A Case Study of a Successful Western Classical Music Company Founded in Hong Kong

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Hong Kong is the home and the cradle of Asia’s best-selling canto-pop music. In Hong Kong, Western classical music has never been the main stream of music enjoyed by the general public. There is only one radio station devoted to Western classical music, i.e., RTHK Radio 4. However, it was reported that more and more people in Hong Kong are actually going to classical concerts. According to the 2003 edition of Hong Kong Annual Digest of Statistics, although the number of classical concert presentations (including orchestral, instrumental concerts, vocal and operas, etc.) has decreased by 0.78% (from 387 in 2001 to 384 in 2002), the attendance rate has actually increased by 2.1% (from 76.9% in 2001 to 79% in 2002). Compared to 10 years ago (i.e., 1992), the attendance rate has in fact increased by 15.6% (from 63.4% in 1992 to 79% in 2002). As reflected in the above statistics, although Western classical music is not the main stream in Hong Kong, there is clear evidence that Western classical music is slowly gaining popularity among the general public. Hong Kong is definitely experiencing a slow, but steady bloom in interest in the Western classical music over the years. In fact, outside the traditional concert venues, in general, a lot more people are hearing classical music than ever before, e.g., in hotel lobbies, call-waiting service, public parking garages, shopping malls, feature films, TV commercials, and in TV series, etc. In fact, Western classical music is slowly becoming a middle-class social phenomenon, a kind of status symbol, and perhaps more. However, despite all the efforts spent on music education and the evident growth in interests, it is very unlikely that Hong Kong will ever be recognized a capital of classical music. Surprisingly, a locally founded, and yet transnational classical music company, Naxos Music Ltd. marked its 15th anniversary in Hong Kong in 2002. Naxos has not only revolutionized the rules of the recording game of serious music, it has also changed the consumers’ CD-buying habits on a global scale, under an extremely short span of time. Naxos now upholds an unchallenged artistic reputation that is also catching up to the label’s commercial prowess. The Naxos label is now standing as an international market leader that is beyond the issue of price. In Hong Kong, Mr. Klaus Heymann has established Naxos Music Ltd. as a world leader in music education, sponsorship, and the provision of recorded classical music to all. Since 1987, Naxos has also redefined how classical music is recorded, presented, marketed, and enjoyed. Innovative strategies of recording exciting new and rare repertoire, with lesser-known, but exceptional talents have enabled the label to continue to develop, and become one of the largest and fastest growing catalogues of unduplicated repertoire that is not available anywhere else. The Naxos label currently has over 5,511 titles (out of which 3,503 are Naxos Regular, others include Marco Polo, Naxos Historical, Naxos International, Naxos World, Naxos Jazz, Jazz Legends, Nostalgia, White Cloud, Middle Kingdom, Yellow River Chinese etc. etc.), with state-of-the-art sound and most important of all, consumer-friendly prices. It was stated that “What Penguin Books and the Livre de Poche did for literature, Heymann is very close to doing for serious music.” Despite the fact that Naxos’ success and reputation have re-written the rulebook for the music industry, so far, there has been very limited research study conducted on any Hong Kong-based, profit-making organizations that have been successful in the selling and the marketing of this Western classical art. In addition, in most cases, music companies do not really understand their classical buyers’ needs and their consumer behaviours in the classical CD market. As a result, it was decided that an in-depth research study on Naxos Music Ltd. be carried out, with the hope of helping the readers better understand the overall classical-music industry, and most importantly, the secrets behind Naxos’ overwhelming successes.


Keywords: Heymann, Klaus (CEO of Naxos Music Ltd.), Naxos Music Ltd. -- Brand Identity, H.N.H. International Ltd. -- Brand Identity, Classical music industry -- Hong Kong (China), Classical compact disc market -- Hong Kong (China), Compact discs (CDs) -- Hong Kong (China), Sound recording industry -- Hong Kong (China), Music trade -- Hong Kong (China)
Stream: Art and Education, Art in Communities, Constructing Art Worlds
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Klaus Heymann Auf Naxos


Dr. Patrick Lo

Post-Graduate Student, University of Bristol
City One, Shatin, Hong Kong

Mr. Lo is currently a candidate of Doctor of Education (EdD), at Bristol University (UK). He has a Master of Arts in Design Management (MA) from Hong Kong Polytechnic University (2004), a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from McGill University (Canada; 1994), and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from Mount Allison University, (Canada; 1992). Mr Lo is efficient in: Cantonese Chinese, Mandarin Chinese (Putunghua), English and German. 1996-2007, Mr Lo was seving as Cataloguing Librarian at Lingnan University Library (Hong Kong). 2003-06, Mr. Lo was also serving as the Coordinator of the Library as Cultural Centre activities at Lingnan University Library. Mr. Lo's professional affiliations include the following:

1. 1999-2006 - Secretary of JULAC-HKCAN (Hong Kong Chinese Name Authority) Workgroup.

2. 1993-2006 - Representative of Lingnan University Library (Hong Kong) for the Hong Kong JULAC-BSC (Bibliographic Services Committee).

3. 2004 - present - Member of CALIS (China Academic Library and Information System) Unicat Expert Group.

Mr. Lo has presented close to 40 research papers and project reports focusing on humanities, education, and library science at different local and international workgroup meetings, seminars, conferences, including: Mainland China, Hong Kong, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Japan, United States, Korea, and Sweden; including presenting at:

1. The Library of Congress (U.S.),
2. Austrian National Library (Vienna),
3. University of Vienna,
4. National Library of France (Paris),
5. National Institute of Informatics (Japan), etc.

Mr. Lo’s recent professional activity includes presenting “Using Outsource Data of Digital Resources in Creating Our Own Bibliographic Records: Lingnan University Library’s Experience in Converting Naxos Music Library and Spoken Word Library Online Titles to MARC Records” at the 72nd IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) Conference in Seoul, Korea, in August 2006: http://www.ifla.org/IV/ifla72/papers/123-Tam_Lo-en.pdf

Mr. Lo's research interests include: latest developments of Metadata, Chinese authority works, and cataloguing among Chinese libraries in Asia and North America; exploring potentials for resources sharing among Chinese libraries in Asia; future development and enhancement of bibliographic records; users’ interaction with the online catalogue; Western classical music, especially Italian operas, vocal music of German Post-Romantic period, Lieder (German art songs), etc.

Award(s): Most Active Presenter Award of HKIUG (Hong Kong Innovative Users Group) Annual Meeting in December 2006.

Recent Activity: serving as Reporter of Recent Serials Publications in China of Fontes Artis Musicae Journal.

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