Naxos is one year away from the legal drinking age

Was it really 20 years ago that Naxos was launched? I was a freshman in high school when the label launched, and I remember reading the sneers in classical music publications I read around that time.

I was starting to explore classical music at the time, and impressionable as I was, I steered clear of Naxos releases, instead opting for budget line discs from the majors (which, of course, started those lines to compete with the burgeoning success of Naxos.)

Today, pretty much any classical music section of a music shop is stuffed bin to bin with Naxos releases. A few years back, I wanted to listen to Krzysztof Penderecki’s Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima while I was working a shift at Waterloo Records. The store’s Penderecki section was slim, but a Naxos release of the composer’s orchestral works included the piece. The mercifully cheap price was a boon to my retail wage.

The fact Naxos embraces digital media and licenses its catalog to eMusic — free from DRM — is a strong selling point for the label, and its presence on eMusic convinced me to sign up.

So happy birthday, Naxos. In the words of the old Virginia Slim ads (or Fatboy Slim): "You’ve come a long way, baby."

P.S. The Deutsche Grammophon logo often gets spoofed on rock releases. Has anyone emulated Naxos’ no-nonsense cover template?