How Do Classical Music Organizations Attract a Younger Audience?
A couple of days ago, I spoke about myself not being the target demographic for classical music organizations. I suggested they should be targeting the younger, under 30 crowd. But how?
By understanding what the under 30 crowd wants from a concert.
There is something to be said for programming pops concerts that feature artists and music familiar with this age group. But there is more to the equation.
Rock concerts are multimedia events. There are lights, special effects, slides and/or video captures. The energy at these concerts is at a fevered pitched inciting the audience to scream, clamor to their feet and feel as those they have somehow participate in the event. It isn't just a concert, it's an experience --one they talk about with their friends over and over again. They chatter about it on Facebook and can't wait until the next "show."
Classical music concerts are nothing like this. Occasionally, you may find pop artists performing with orchestras that illicit this kind of response, but even then the concert halls are tame in comparison.
It is possible to place video cameras around the concert hall with the idea of providing live close ups of the performers, showing their face, their emotional connection with the music and creating that connection with their audience. And I'm not just talking about pops concerts. It would be amazing if when the principal oboe player was performing a solo if the audience had the chance to see his/her face. The musicians in professional orchestras are amazingly talent and very expressive when they perform. It's why they perform so well. But sitting 300 feet from them it's hard to really connect with the individual (and these are the good seats - what about the people in the nose bleed section?).
Another aspect about having the video cameras during the performance is the ability to webcast and or post videos after the concert. Statistics show 93% of the people under 30 get most of their news and information from the Internet, 85% don't look anywhere else. They are shopping online, getting their tickets online and making choices about what they want to do in their spare time -- online! In order to connect with this demographic classical music organizations need to exist in the world the under 30 crowd operates, and with a similar look and feel.
YouTube videos are hugely popular. MTV made the music video a necessity for getting a hit song. YouTube has gone the next step by making it possible for even unknowns to "go viral." Imagine if your symphony had a video that was so popular on YouTube it reached a half million people in the first day, or even the first week? It's possible. Videos do it all the time, just not ones from classical music organizations.
What's I'm really saying is communicate to the people under 30 in a way they understand (and what to be communicated to). Make classical music concerts an experience and not just music. I can download hundred of performances of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Why would I want to come to your hall to hear it just once? (Ok, I probably would --but what about that audience that is used to getting more than just music from their concerts?) Answer that question and you'll start getting the younger audience you need.