Stephen Hough: "YouTube isn't destroying music"

7 June 2013, 12:12 | Updated: 7 June 2013, 21:57

Following pianist Krystian Zimerman's decision to walk out of his own concert when an audience member filmed his performance, fellow pianist Stephen Hough took to Twitter to air his views.

Pianist Stephen Hough has defended classical musicians who post performances on YouTube, following Krystian Zimerman's comments that YouTube is 'destroying music'. Stephen argued that while posting commercial CDs on YouTube is wrong, filming concerts and sharing the footage is different, providing it doesn't disrupt the performance and can be taken down from the site if requested.

"I don't think YouTube is destroying music, especially when it's recorded concerts or TV broadcasts," he said. "No one makes a fortune anymore out of classical CDs. They are more often a calling card to create concert opportunities. Let's not forget that producers/engineers etc. are involved here. Piracy does them out of a job more than instrumentalists."

It's not only recent recordings on YouTube which extend the life of the music. Stephen argued that while the law needs to stay the same, he still enjoys listening to older recordings on the video sharing site: "When someone illegally recorded Hofmann's 1938 Casimir Hall recital I'm not unhappy about it! Would that someone had filmed Mahler conducting or Rachmaninov in concert!"

Choral composer and conductor Eric Whitacre, who uses YouTube to his advantage in his pioneering Virtual Choir projects, has also joined the debate. Posting on Facebook last night, Eric said he 'respectfully disagreed' with Zimerman's decision to walk out of his concert.

Should audiences be allowed to film classical concerts? Is YouTube 'destroying' classical music, or is it a helpful tool for discovering new pieces? We're debating the issue online here.