As a composer of classical music, an avid listener of the stuff you might think I would be just the sort of person classical music organizations might want to target. Wrong!
The Classical Music audience is discussed on a variety of different blogs around the internet, all of them talking about how to get people attending classical music events. Marketing Directors every where are racking their brains on who they should target. Artistic Directors attempt to program music that will appeal to this target and yield the most money in terms of both ticket sales and donations.
The problem most of them face is the demographic for a fuller audience and the demographic Development Directors look toward in terms of donations are vastly different. Development Directors are after the big money, the people who will put in $50+. People with that kind of money are typically older and established classical music lovers. They are not your new audience.
College music students, particularly those who play orchestral instruments are part of the younger crowd that classical music organizations are looking to attract. However, they already have an interest in classical music and its survival, particularly if they ever hope to be playing in a professional classical music organization at some point. Again, not the target demographic.
The people who aren't attending classical music concerts are the kinds of people who will shell out $30-40-50+ for a ticket to see a rock concert. They think nothing standing in huge crowds to see their favorite performers live on stage. This is the demographic classical music organizations want to attract, the 18 to 30 year olds who have some disposable income and want to experience live music.
The problem is classical music organization are attempting to lure these people in by programming older pop stars. A concert featuring the music of Ella Fitzgerald or Elvis Presley is only going to draw an audience of people over 35. Ray Charles is a bit more contemporary, Elton John even more so. But still we're talking about famous performers and their music that were at the top of their game 10, 20, 30+ years ago. What about Lady Gaga or Alica Keys, contemporary names that are huge with the younger crowd?
There is a lot of discussion about thinking outside the box - but are we really? Are classical music organizations really thinking about what is popular with the under 30 age group, the audience of the future? If you get this group into your concert hall, you have a good thirty years more attendance potential.
I am a classical music enthusiast and I am forty-eight years old. If you haven't already got people like me coming to your concert hall, chances are you won't. And, even if you do, how much longer will we really be your target audience???
More on this topic in the coming weeks...