Analysis January 2023: Why are the classical charts snubbing string players?

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With the proliferation of recordings by non-standard ‘classical’ artists, how can record labels market them if the charts don’t recognise them?

Two recent recordings by string artists have been deemed ineligible for the UK’s Official Specialist Classical Chart in the past few months. This has raised questions about the inclusivity and relevance of today’s classical album charts. There are also implications for record labels that want to give boundary-pushing emerging artists the widest possible platform.

In September the Official Charts Company ruled South African cellist Abel Selaocoe’s debut release for Warner Classics, Where Is Home? (Hae Ke Kae) ineligible for its core-classical specialist chart. The album was deemed to have too many African folk influences, with its overall sound and aspects of its instrumentation straying outside the chart’s eligibility guidelines. However, the album did launch at number 4 on the much broader Official Classical Artist Album Chart. This chart includes crossover acts and compilations, and tends to be dominated by catalogue releases (traditionally defined as recordings released at least 18 months previously), making it difficult for more specialist artists to top it…

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