As observed by Classic FM, “with the rise of streaming services, young people are listening to more Mozart and Bach than they did 10 years ago. And during lockdown, classical music has experienced a second boom.”
Classical music is gaining more popularity among young audiences, according to joint studies performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the streaming service Deezer (a Spotify competitor) and British Phonographic Industry (BPI). Of those who are streaming classical music, one third (34 percent) were aged 18-25 this past year, and during the same time period, classical streams by people under 35 years old increased by 17 percent.
When the nation’s lockdown began in March, classical musicians had to start getting creative and for many, this meant reaching out to a broader audience. Musicians are doing this by combining today’s popular music and classical music—making classical versions of many songs that are widely listened to by younger audiences. Deezer reports that over 3 months, classical music streams among 18 to 25-year-olds increased by 11 percent.
Of those streams, composers Mozart and Bach were the most popular, and streams of female pianists, including Martha Argerich and Khatia Buniatishvili, soared during those 3 months.
Also, according to an earlier report done by the RPO, 35 percent of people under age 35 said that listening to orchestral music helped them relax and maintain their wellbeing during the lockdown.
During these difficult times, it can be hard to stay positive when you are dealing with feelings of isolation. One way to help alleviate those tough emotions is with mood-based playlists. Playlists such as “Calm,” “Feel Good” and “Sleep,” have been linked to the pandemic, as young people listened to these playlists as a method of reassurance and relaxation. (Check out our favorite one, “Soothing Classical,” here!)
Not only are playlists gaining more popularity, but albums are making somewhat of a comeback, as classical music listeners tend to stream them in full, in comparison to listeners of other genres who often seek out the latest hit singles from chart-topping popular artists.
Academy Award-winning film composer Alexandre Desplat expressed, “It’s heartening that the appeal of classical music is clearly expanding and connecting with a broader and younger audience.
“The ease of discovery and connectivity through streaming, must be playing its part,” he adds, “but so too is the global reach and power of film soundtracks, which draw such inspiration from classical composition.”
British-German composer Max Richter comments, “As well as being a historical art form, classical music is also part of what is happening now, and it is great to see more people embracing it.” Richter makes the important point that classical music isn’t a dead art form, but one that is constantly evolving and growing with its audience.
Classical music time and time again has been found to aid others through tough times and is utilized in other fields of work such as psychology and music therapy to help those in need. Musicians do what they do because there is nothing more rewarding than being able to truly reach someone through this art form, and that is what many people struggling during this time look forward to embracing.
Alessandra Ramos is a Los Angeles-based music writer, oboist and marketing intern for Pacific Symphony.