Classical download wars? Or just a good idea?

Just two days after the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra announced it was making its recordings available online for streaming, the Minnesota Orchestra sent an email out to its subscribers announcing a very similar program.

Minnesota Orchestra Music on Demand allows users to download certain performances. The catch here is that while the first two works now available can be downloaded for free, beginning in November 2010, Minnesota Orchestra will charge a download fee. Big orchestra fans will be able to pay a one-time fee in advance to gain access to the full season of recordings. As with the SPCO program, the Music on Demand program is being done in partnership with MPR’s classical service.

So is this the beginning of a classical download war in the Twin Cities? I checked in with classical host Brian Newhouse, who reports back that the two projects came about completely independent of each other, and coincidentally at nearly the same time.

So which do you think you’ll use? Do you prefer streaming for free, or downloading for a price?