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Dutch-based ‘Netflix of classical music’ Symphony rakes in €6.5m and goes live on September 24th

The Netherlands-based Symphony, a new online streaming service bringing music from the world’s best orchestras to a global audience, announced on Tuesday September 20 that it had raised €6.5 million in a funding round collected by a group of 14 Dutch entrepreneurs and investors.

While online live concert streaming has been common practice since the Covid era, it is still difficult for those interested to find the right concert according to their differences. And that’s exactly what Symphony wants to solve. The company says that prior to its advent, there was nothing to “guide, advise or inspire” music lovers.

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With a team of 30, also assembled by the investors, Symphony will open on Saturday 24th

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

Briefly about symphony

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

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

Founder of the symphony

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

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

Orchestra supporting symphony

Symphony co-founder Rob Overman began introducing his concept to orchestras two years ago, during the Covid era. Numerous people responded immediately with enthusiasm. Although orchestras have learned that they can release their excellent recordings online, capitalizing on online ticket sales has been incredibly difficult. The Symphony deal provides for the orchestras to receive half of the streaming service’s profits.

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

Some of the participating orchestras are the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Orchester symphonique de Montréal, the Czech Philharmonic and the Budapest Festival Orchestra. Other orchestras are to follow this fall and next year.

Each of the participating orchestras will broadcast four live performances on the Internet each year as part of “Symphony Night Live”. The full-length recordings include interviews, behind-the-scenes insights, stories and expert commentary.

Dominic Seldis and Tommy Pearson

In order to make the music enjoyable and interesting for a wide audience, Symphony has chosen two ‘extraordinary’ presenters – Tommy Pearson, a former BBC reporter and classical music expert, and Dominic Seldis, a renowned solo bassist with the Concertgebouw Orchestra and a member of the jury the TV program Maestro.

The two presenters provide context, take viewers backstage and engage in talks with experts about that night’s performance, much like real sportscasters 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.”

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