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  Audience profiles  MartinY at 16:38 on 18 August 2009

This is a comment culled from several newspaper articles published this year...... The audience age profile for contemporary music is good in that the total numbers are small but there are a lot of young people going to the concerts so the peak of the distribution is young. (Would be nice to see the real graphs if they are on free access anywhere. Will look.)

For mainstream classical music the audience profile is old and getting older by the year i.e. people in their 50s are not being replaced by people in their 40s. The numbers going to concerts are falling and they are ageing and not being replaced. This does not apply to contemporary music where the age profile is holding up with time.

The majority of people have never been to a classical music concert in their lives. There was a radio program about a successful journalist who went to his first ever classical concert in his late 30s. He went overdressed because it expected it to be very posh. He enjoyed it but it was not anything like what he expected. These attitudes are pretty common.

What this does mean is that irrespective of the quality of the music being programmed, the amount of outreach and education put in, a dramatic increase in the number of people attending concerts is not going to be possible.
A 10 to 15 percent increase would be miraculous but increases of hundreds of percents is not credible. However because of the way margins work a 15 percent increase has a dramatic effect on the financial viability of things though unfortunately it works in reverse.

I would like to see an increase in the number of people playing music of all types. The motto for both sport and music seems to have become don't just do something, sit there wheras years ago it was don't just sit there, do something. The profile of music has been increased in the UK National Curriculum but I have a terrible feeling it is more in theory than in practice. The anecdotal stories I hear coming out of primary schools are not encouraging.