They seem to come around more often than buses, and certainly more often than national censuses or general elections. Yes, it’s time for yet another ‘Brits are clueless about classical music’ poll. This one has got me even more annoyed at the way these things are reported than usual. Here are the opening paragraphs from the Guardian‘s report:
The British may be a nation of music lovers, but they are clueless when it comes to classical composers, a survey revealed today.
One in three people (33%) have never listened to classical music and 4% of those surveyed wrongly identified Bocconcini – small Italian cheese balls – as a composer.
So 67% of people do listen to classical music. Those aren’t bad numbers, surely. Especially for something that is dead and/or dying? And in fact even I had to do a double take on the Bocconcini question, especially since there was an Italian family of composers and performers called Bononcini. I’m not sure how much statistical value we can give to the responses to a trick question. (And only 4% got it wrong – good job, 96% of the country! Out of interest, I wonder how many people, if surveyed, could name a photograph of, say, Simon Cowell or Lindsay Lohan? About 4% may not be far off the mark. Would that be a story?)
There is also the fact that this is a poll conducted by the Reader’s Digest, so the polling group may be self-selecting, but scroll down to the bottom half of the article:
Most participants (61%) said they liked classical music, with the older generation much keener than the younger generation.
That 61% is a really remarkable number, and not one I would expect many doomsayers to repeat. If 61% of a given market like what you do, you’ve got a hell of a product.
Here’s an alternative headline for this story:
Most people like classical music. Some of them could learn a little more about its facts and figures.
Doesn’t sound as good though, does it?
(Cross-posted to Red Pen Blue Pen.)