June 30, 2005, 12:00 AM

Want to find problems? Ask your customers

ClassicalArchives.com offers free subscriptions to customers who report new reproducible bugs on the site.

Sometimes you don’t need technology to find out if your site has a problem: You can invite your customers to tell you.

That’s the approach that ClassicalArchives.com takes. In the center of the home page, above its listing of composers, ClassicalArchives.com posts this message: “Problems? Send your feedback: get a free subscription for new reproducible-bug reports.”

Takers have been few so far, CEO, co-chairman and founder Pierre Schwob tells InternetRetailer.com. In fact, reports have been for pretty esoteric glitches, such as one in which the system was having trouble differentiating one customer’s formerly free subscription with the customer’s current paid subscription. It’s an important distinction because paid subscribers have greater access to music than free. “We’ve been very good with our testing so far,” Schwob says.

Schwab put ClassicalArchives.com online in 1994, the result of his frustration at being unable to find classical music outlets in Hong Kong, where he was living at the time. Today, the site hosts 500,000 subscribers, although the company won’t reveal what portion is paid. Free subscribers can listen to shorter pieces, such as one movement, and are limited to five a day. $25-a-year subscriptions entitle subscribers to 1,000 files a month and up to 100 a day and the ability to download music to their computers or other players.

The site boasts 34,000 music files by 1,882 composers. The music is performed by independent musicians around the world, Schwob says.

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