During this year’s Proms, WildKat PR spent a week outside the Royal Albert Hall asking queuing prommers their opinion on developing technologies vs. the classical music industry. Our findings were maybe not as varied as first predicted, as it was expected that aspects such as age and experience would affect opinion.
We found that across the generations, the most integral part of developed technology, the Internet, is widely accepted, with most people finding classical music online. However, the conventional aspect of classical music, such as the use of sheet music, the live concert and traditional, non-electric instruments is preferred even if some do embrace change as it happens.
Prommers were open to the use of electric instruments in some situations but not universally. Appropriateness was dependent on factors such as the time period of the composition, which instrument was being made electric and whether it was being played by a soloist or a member of the orchestra.
The younger generation of concert goers were positive about the use of social media for artist promotion, saying it increases accessibility. They also find facebook and twitter a useful tool for finding out about classical music events, although this is not a substitute for a personal recommendation from a friend, teacher or family member.
Defying stereotypes, the older generation were not of the opinion that we have ‘lost’ precious concert going traditions to technology. However, they were mostly negative about the practice of filming concerts with phones, saying that it caused unwanted noise, was disrespectful to the artist and prevented full appreciation of the concert. They were cautious about allowing reviews to affect their concert going habits and opinions were mixed as to whether they would trust a review from a professional journalist in a respected publication more than a review from a blogger.
With regards to television, most people find concerts on TV less engaging than the live experience, but like the idea of being able to see conductors and musicians close up, which is a view that wouldn’t be possible in the concert hall. Also, all prommers asked said they saw the benefit in televising concerts as it reaches out to a new audience, who then might want to see a concert live. However, the live performance remains the most vital part of a classical music experience.
(Written on September 6, 2013 )