Today, classical music concerts [CMC] seem to experience a stark decrease in participation. The audience is relatively old, and the concerts are not frequently visited. At the same time, it is more difficult to have younger potential audiences to participate. Recently, innovative trends emerged, and marketing becomes a more relevant tool to brand symphony orchestras and to appeal to a larger group. The classical music industry tries to liberate itself from the narrow content of elitist expectations and conventions, to survive the decline in, and greying of audiences. This thesis concentrates on the current issues in CMCs, and in particular how marketing is used to attract new cultural consumers, by pondering about: How Dutch CMCs perceive and navigate the change in the audience landscape. Using semi-structured interviews conducted in the Netherlands with marketers and directors of classical music concerts, discourses around the audience landscape are explored with a focus on marketing and innovation. Through thematic analysis, the operators’ experiences and positions in the industry are explored and bring further insights on how they profile CMCs in today’s society, including four analytical themes: Core Audience, Fringe Group, Audience Dilemma, Strategies. The interviews reveal that within the discourse on innovating classical music concerts, relevant strategies to attract the fringe/audiences are both artistic and marketing applications. The relationship between the core and new audience proves to be another challenge, resulting in an audience dilemma. The research has also shown that the new cultural consumer is still a fringe zone for the marketers and operators, and therefore target high- to middlebrow consumers. While the industry invites the next generation of audiences to the concerts, it still excludes a large group of potential audiences. The marketers’ goal lies in innovating the marketing and concert formats and overlooks the ownership the core audience has with regards to purchasing systems. This implies that the Dutch classical music industry remains a top-down approach, with concerts and stakeholders being superior to the participating audience. Apart from sharing insights into how marketers include/exclude new cultural consumers to classical music, this study highlights the need to further research the relationship of older and younger generations participating at the concerts and how the strategies perform.

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Keywords kunstwetenschappen, cultuurwetenschappen, Classical Music Concerts, Audience Dilemma, Fringe Group, Marketers and Directors, Inclusivity
Persistent URL
Series Master Arts, Culture & Society
B. A. Wartenpfuhl. (2019, June 14). Marketing Classical Music Concerts. Master Arts, Culture & Society. Retrieved from