Case Studies/OnClassical study

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Image, Sound, Text
Adoption date unspecified
classical music, audio recordings, hi-fi, wav, mp3, recording studio, netlabel


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OnClassical is a no-intermediaries and no-packaging independent label with the main philosophy to produce, distribute and sell high-fidelity recordings online in WAV files at 44.1 k x 16 bit (CD quality), DRM-free. It enrolls international first-prize winning artists with a non-exlusive agreement (also for recordings made by itself).

Direct music recording, its publication and sale, without any mediation between producers and artists. This is possible within a free network using Creative Commons licenses. Classical music, not being legally bound, is a perfect application for this idea! — Alessandro Simonetto, founder of


OnClassical is a small independent label for classical music, based very close to Bassano del Grappa (Italy). It was founded in 2003 by sound engineer Alessandro Simonetto.

OnClassical offers recordings of highest quality guaranteed by the combination of experience in acoustic technology and of musical artistry. Each detail regarding the singling out of artists, locations and musical instruments and the choice of placement of the recording equipment is studied carefully, and nothing is left to chance. The recordings which we obtain with quasi maniacal care, allow one not only to discern the exact nature of a given musical instrument, but also the finest details of its mechanical parts; the very low as well as the most rapid sonorities, and those ambient corners which tend to amplify certain frequencies and ennoble the colour of the final audio. The acquisition of the sound and its successive mixing is not the result of a casual or imaginary placement of the listener, but is reproduced as one would hear it if he were in the middle of a musical ensemble, or standing in place of the musician in the case of a solo performance. Furthermore, the recordings exploit the maximum extension and the exact instrumental sound depth. This means that given the artist, the accompaniment, and the repertoire, a decision is made to make use of the most suitable environment, instruments and equipment. For OnClassical it is important to create a good rapport between technician and musician. This practice, combined with the artistic sensibility of OnClassical make recording friendly and relaxed. Extraordinary results can be achieved when, together, the artist and the sound technician create the right blend of music and emotions. The important work of selection which we have spoken of here culminates in an absolute naturalness in recordings that gives the listener the sense of being present at the performance; with the extra bonus of being able to capture those nuances which would otherwise go unnoticed even for the most attentive ear. Thus, in a sense, one is able to participate each time at a unique and unrepeatable event, more like a live performance than a recording.

OnClassical began in 2003 as the first Italian independent label for the distribution of classical music on the internet. It was also one of the world's pioneers in the utilization of the then new Creative Commons licence.

The name means both ON(line)CLASSICAL(music) and ON[about]CLASSICAL[music].

License Usage

OnClassical's entire catalogue is available for free download in MP3 files (96 kbps) Creative Commons licensed (CC BY-NC-SA, 1.0). Images, texts, covers are distributed on the same license. WAV files (those that customer purchase) are DRM-free and author's society free.


Music = CD-content only (not other). In this point is also the quality of the music and the recording. OnClassical philosophy doesn't include packaging.


WAV files of the original masters. At it is possible to download the exact copy of the master as originally produced. No MP3 of good quality are available to avoid problems tied to the quality maintenaince due to the eventual decompression of compressed files in the operations of burning-to-cd. Left to customer the possibility to freely obtain encoded files for his use on computers and iPods.