Now that we are at the start of a new decade - ok strictly that is from 2021, but the numbers don’t look as neat - generally, people like to look back at what has been before and peer forward in hope at what might be just over the horizon. A recent headline in the Independent caught my eye: Classical music grew faster than any other genre in 2018 - a headline that I was encouraged to read, and one that urged me to read further into the article.
BPI data shows that more than 2.2 million classical albums were purchased, downloaded or streamed in 2018 and nearly 60 per cent of those were bought in CD format, bucking a trend that has shown more people than ever streaming rather than buying CDs. The move to streaming is however increasing even in the classical music genre: up 9% on the previous year.
So what does the BPI mean by ‘classical music’? They include film soundtracks and also cross-over artists such as Katherine Jenkins and Andrea Bocelli which, at first, I thought must skew the figures away from true
classical music. But then I caught myself, chastised myself, and reminded myself that this is
what classical music is and, more importantly, is what it always has been in one way or another since the dawning of recorded music.
Classical music enthusiasts have been called elitist and sometimes snobbish in the past, however in my experience I have always found those that know more about a particular area of the genre welcoming and keen to share their knowledge. As this different, more populist classical music broaden’s the appeal towards younger listeners I see a massive opportunity to encourage and educate. There is an awful lot of music going on and it should be our mission to welcome new listeners, accept that classical music is a broad church, encourage new listeners to try other types of classical music and maybe, just maybe, learn and grow to enjoy the music that is exciting them too
A very happy New Year to our many readers, new and not-so-new, world-wide