Rhinegold

Melissa Bradshaw

RPO research shows increased interest in orchestral music among young people

5:06, 18th February 2020

According to new research by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO), 73% of British adults have an active relationship with orchestral music, rising to 83% of those aged under 25.

Almost half of young people polled (46%) listened to orchestral music on streaming platforms such as Spotify or YouTube – compared with 15% of people over 65 – making it the most common way young people are engaging with orchestral music.

‘Technology is playing a huge role in shaping the future of how people engage with orchestral music,’ says James Williams, managing director at the RPO. ‘At the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, we see it as an essential role to respond to this change, and to evolve and develop – be it through online content or programme notes that appear live on your phone. Indeed, last year we reached around 17m people worldwide through Spotify alone, and these numbers continue to grow each year.’

Beyond digital and broadcast media, the live experience remains a cornerstone of orchestral engagement with a quarter (25%) of people under 25 saying they attended a concert from time to time – slightly higher than the average of 21% across all ages.

More than a third of adults (35%) said they enjoyed listening to orchestral music on the radio, and results showed that under 25s were taking more steps to engage and learn more about the genre – 22% said that they were learning or have learned to play a musical instrument, compared to the national average of 12%, and one in eight under 25s (12%) considered themselves to have a ‘good knowledge’ of the genre having studied music in some way.

Speaking to CM about how we can continue to engage young people with orchestral music beyond streaming and encourage people to attend live performances, Williams added: ‘There is no one single medium through which people, young and old, now use to engage with culture, and encouraging people to expand their musical horizons, particularly moving from a digital to the live performance experience requires a multifarious approach.

‘Using various technologies and multi-media platforms provides one piece of the jigsaw but other factors, for example considering where concerts are staged (venue and geographical location), providing a broad choice of programming, affordable tickets and ensuring that attending live performances can provide a positive social experience, are all factors that the RPO has learned are important both for new and returning audiences.’

www.rpo.co.uk

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