Germany's renowned Berlin Philharmonic has entered uncharted territory, offering a subscription to digital broadcasts of their entire season.
The first digital concert was conducted by the outreach-oriented Simon Rattle
Fans of the orchestra can now follow its performances from anywhere in the world, provided they have access to the Internet, through a new "digital concert hall."
The debut performance on Tuesday, Jan. 6 in which Sir Simon Rattle conducted Brahms' First Symphony, was the first to be broadcast online from the philharmonic's home concert hall in the German capital.
Opening up the hall
With single tickets to follow the online performance live, or to access it on demand within a 48-hour period after the broadcast, was priced at 9.90 euros ($13.45). A season ticket costs 149 euros and gives viewers access to all concerts throughout the season.
The orchestra has a wide popular following
"The Berlin Philharmonic has a large world-wide following; many people find it hard to get tickets to concerts, especially when the orchestra is on tour," project spokesman Thomas Muller told DW-WORLD, explaining the motivation behind the plan.
Now a digital season ticket buyer can see even more concerts than a regular season ticket holder, at lower cost, Muller added.
Overcoming technical challenges
Muller said he did not yet know exactly how many people had tuned in to the digital stream on Tuesday night, but he knew it was "already more than the number of seats that we have in the concert hall," which holds 2,400 people.
Muller added that to his knowledge, the live digital showing had gone off without any technical glitches.
The idea of digitally broadcasting the concerts via Internet was first raised three years ago, but it took a long time to solve all the technical questions involved, including how to film without bothering the audience or orchestra performers, and how to send high-enough quality images and sound through limited Internet data streams.
"We knew we needed to insure a technical quality that matches artistic quality," Muller explained. "We're happy we achieved that."
Click on the link below to visit the Berlin Philharmonic's digital concert hall.