The Millennials’ Orchestra: Competing for Attention

“The Millennials’ Orchestra” series of blog posts are not meant to be opinion pieces, but rather founded in research, which I gathered and reported as part of my graduate capstone project from 2012-2013. This is a personal blog and does not represent the views or opinions of my employer.

The Millennials’ Orchestra: Competing for Attention

Orchestras and New Media, a report by arts marketer Marc van Bree, discusses the rapid
evolution of technology in contemporary society and the implications for Millennial engagement with symphony orchestras.122 From company brands and magazines to radio, TV, and websites, 21st century populations are exposed to a great complexity media with ever-increasing frequency.123 Contrary to the idea that Millennials are using and communicating through technology in place of one-on-one interaction, instead Millennials use technology and new media channels to enhance their social experiences.124 Social media networks are inherently interactive and can become powerful marketing and engagement tools for attracting this “always connected generation”125 to the work of symphony orchestras.126 As the graph illustrates below, the likelihood of online engagement with Millennial audiences is considerably greater when compared to audiences from older age cohorts.127

Audience Insight LLC, Classical Music Consumer Segmentation Study:

Audience Insight - Electronic Media by Age CohortNote: The electronic media measurement of participation in those activities includes all dance, and not just ballet. Visual arts participation includes those who either observed programs about artworks, artists, or museums through electronic media and/or who viewed artworks online.128

122 Marc van Bree, “Orchestras and New Media: A Complete Guide,” 56, 2009.
123 Ibid.
124 Ibid.
125 Pew Research Center, 2010, “Millennials: Confident-Connected-Open to Change.”
126 Ibid.
127 Alan Brown (Project Director), “Classical Music Consumer Segmentation Study.”
128 Ibid.

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With so much competition for our attention with mobile devices, social media, and online entertainment and information, orchestras are smartly starting to incorporate these tools and channels into the way they communicate and engage with their audiences.  As a continuation of this discussion, my next blog post will focus on inter-connectivity of Millennials through technology and new media channels and how some nonprofit arts organizations, orchestras included, are integrating these modes of communication and interaction into their practices and performances.

Have you interacted with an orchestra that encouraged the use of mobile apps or social media?  What was your experience?

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Symphony orchestras going mobile? App-solutely!

With the use of mobile apps on the rise, I was curious to see how many symphony orchestras have embraced the trend.

Orchestra apps are making it easier for fans to follow the latest news, find event information, buy tickets, make donations, listen to music samples, watch videos, learn about conductors and musicians, access driving and parking information, and more…all on their mobile devices.

There were a few orchestras that I expected to find, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony.  There were several that I was pleasantly surprised to see!  Although I am rather impressed by the number of symphony orchestra apps already available, I feel there is great potential for this list, as well as patron engagement, to grow.

Which symphony orchestras did I find in the rapidly expanding mobile app-mosphere?

New finds!

Classical Music Apps:
WQXR – New York’s Classical Music Radio Station – released the Top 5 Classical Music Apps (top 5 @ 105) in 2011, including:

  1. Bachtrack – search by composer, work, choreographer, performer, country, city, venue or any combination of these.
  2. Boston Symphony Orchestra – BSO Media Center: WebTV provides virtual concert-going experience (Press release)
  3. Medici.tv – subscribe, rent films, and watch live webcasts
  4. iGendyn – entertaining sound synthesis app
  5. Mahler Translation – Nearly 2300 English translations of German musical words and phrases found in Gustav Mahler’s symphonic works.

You may find other WQXR Top 5 lists from 2012 that interest you:

I want to hear from you! (@CStarek; www.mezzaphonicallyspeaking.wordpress.com; Google+)

  1. Would you consider downloading your local orchestra’s mobile app?
  2. What are your initial reactions to this service?
  3. What are your thoughts for the future of symphony orchestra engagement?