Stop the press – I’m ‘down with the kids’

Classical fans log on to digital age

This may be more of a surprise for non-lovers of classical music but a new survey has confirmed that yes, they are down with the kids.

A recent survey commissioned by Gramophone has found that fans of classical music download music just like everybody else. Says the magazine’s editor-in-chief James Jolly, “These findings overturn our preconceptions about the kind of person who buys and listens to classical music.” He goes on to call this a new generation of “iPod oldies,” adding “We can see a whole new group of mature MP3 listeners emerging”.

This 29-year-old classical music fan is always glad to do his bit to overturn such inaccurate preconceptions, Mr Jolly.

Update: It turns out I’m doing James Jolly something of a disservice here – today’s Independent includes more of his statement, which is rather more nuanced than the Guardian suggests.

All ages actively enjoy classical music, with the over-50s showing themselves to be particularly dynamic … We can see a whole new group of mature MP3 listeners – iPod oldies, perhaps – emerging who are far from old in their outlook.

That sounds more like it. And here’s Gramophone‘s own take on the story.


3 thoughts on “Stop the press – I’m ‘down with the kids’

  1. I download stuff all the time–I recently scored big time when I found a live performance of Birtwistle’s glorious Exody, a piece I’ve been searching for a recording of for years. Oh, wait. That was on the file theft services, Soulseek. 🙂

    I’m 47 so I don’t know if I fit the old fogey demo, but one thing I really wish would become a realty is using BirTorrent (legally or not) to get opera performances. It’s one thing for iTunes to have little chunks of a string quartet or a Callas aria something, but full performances from Covent Garden, Staatsoper unter den Linden, Salzburg, Bayreuth etc. and the major’s vaults is what I’d like to see happening.

    Two things that bothers me about this whole download frenzy:

    1) unless the files are in FLAC or .shn format (maybe a couple of others), they’re compressed and sound like crap compared to a Decca CD, say.

    2) Not everyone, no matter what the age, has a computer. I think studies here in the US show that only 60% of adults have one or access to one. So, the record companies and artists are going to dismiss the other 40%?

  2. Two good points Henry. I hadn’t even considered the second before now, but it’s worth remembering. As for the first, it does puzzle me that classical music lovers – who must be the most audiophilic musical demographic – are apparently so happy to compromise sound quality with mp3s. I can’t believe this is really the case; rather, there are a lot of disappointed consumers out there. who are settling for second best. Why? Presumably accessibility trumps all? I don’t know.

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