A classical radio station is a rare thing nowadays. While you will find an orchestra in almost every major city in the world, the listenership of classical music is just not growing. It remains old, middle class and dominantly white. Young people would rather go to a pop concert than a symphony, and you will be pressed hard to find a teen listening to classical music. Why is classical music on a downward spiral?
In the era of electronic beats, many producers have become reliant on electronic synthesizers to make music. Classical music is seen as complex music with unpopular instruments like the cello. Young musicians and producers hardly look to classical music for inspiration.
Strange Listening Culture
Attending a classical music symphony is like going to a movie theater, only that one spends the entire time watching musicians, who are at many times immobile. The studious silence interspersed with brief clapping is strange for anyone who attends conventional music where yelling, singing and clapping along is part of enjoying the music.
Classical music has long been associated with the more moneyed middle class. It would be hard to hear classical music playing in the favelas of Sao Paulo, or Marcy in New York. Classical music does not have the lyrical expression that strikes a chord with some people. The idea of sitting down to listen to music would seem ridiculous to someone used to conscious rap music.
Declining Radio Support
There are very few radio stations playing classical music today. Losses have led to closures of main classical radio channels preferring to have classical music allocated a few hours in the program line-up.
The truth is that symphony orchestras are simply not pulling in people enough to sustain themselves. The New York orchestra filed for bankruptcy a few years back.
Is it all lost for classical music fans? The answer is that classical music still retains a solid base of fans and listeners. While classical music isn’t usually studio recorded. The sales of recorded live performances form a better metric for measuring how well the music is doing commercially. In 2013, live recorded music accounted for 23.5% of album sales in the US.
The magazine Current did a poll a few years back to find out the base of classical music listeners. The music still attracts over 10 million people. With orchestras holding fewer performances due to financial constraints, these fans have turned to the internet, especially YouTube to get a dose of their favorite music.
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