|Launch date||August 2000|
|Pricing model||Downloads for purchase, unlimited streaming by subscription|
Classical Archives LLC is an online digital music store that solely focuses on classical music. Originally opening as the Classical MIDI Archives in 1994 primarily as a repository for free MIDI sequences of classical music works, in August 2000 the site incorporated as Classical Archives, LLC, and has since been also offering commercial label recordings for both streaming and downloading. Non-members can stream 60-second samples from any track on the Classical Archives. For a monthly fee of $7.99 (or $87.89 a year) members are able to stream any track, work, or album in its entirety from the site's catalogue, and receive a 10% discount on the price of downloads. Both members and non-members can access detailed musicological information for each work: movements, genre, principal instruments, year of composition, and key. Additionally, nearly every composer's biography is provided. Free radio streaming is available for computers and mobile devices that also includes a device to close the connection in one hour, if desired.
Classical Archives uses a proprietary system (called the Contextual Metadata Engine) that allows for the ingestion and cataloguing of all recordings based on musicological accurate and uniform metadata. Because of the Contextual Metadata Engine, visitors can search and cross-reference by various relevant criteria: composer, work title, artist, albums, historical period, instrument, and genre, in order to find and compare different recordings.
Classical Archives was founded by CEO Pierre R. Schwob. The cataloguing of the Classical Archives database is carried out by a team of musicologists led by Chief Musicologist and Artistic Director Dr. Nolan Gasser.
The site provides 320kbit/s MP3 files for downloads and 160 kbit/s AAC files for streaming. Sample clips are streamed at 60kbit/s for non-members.
As of May 22, 2011, the Classical Archives database features 12,046 composers, 42,744 recording artists, and 26,697 Albums from 268 labels. These include the classical catalogues of Universal Music Group (Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, Phillips, ECM, etc.), Sony (RCA, Columbia, etc.), Naxos (BIS, Chandos, Hänssler Classic, etc.), and many independent labels through IODA (harmonia mundi, Nimbus, Summit, etc.). As of June 2011, the Classical Archives has 904,230 registered members.