I think the title of this post is almost a given; search tools are generally designed for the majority of products available, and the iTunes Store’s search is effective mostly for popular music. But for classical music, there is a simple improvement that Apple could make that would greatly enhance searching (and probably sales): add a Label field to the Power Search.
Many classical music fans search for recordings by composer and performer, but also by label, since many classical labels have a certain uniqueness or originality. Not only would one want to search for certain works on major labels, but I’m thinking of the “mid-sized” labels that do so much for classical music today: Bis, Hyperion and Harmonia Mundi are just three examples of dynamic labels that release music that often is less commercial and more interesting than the majors. Call them the “indies” of classical music, but don’t forget that there are hundreds of indies in the classical sector: in fact, these days most interesting recordings come out of independent labels, as the majors focus on crossover acts or repackaging older recordings for re-release.
So adding a Label field to searches would allow you to, say, browse what a given label has released, and especially see what’s new from them. Since what’s new on the iTunes Store doesn’t always correspond to what’s new on their web sites (there can be a delay before their music makes it to the iTunes Store), it could be a way of keeping up with the latest releases available digitally.