Sunday, July 04, 2010
The stalled search engine
Ravi Shankar's first symphony was given its first performance on July 1 at the Royal Festival Hall by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Back in April last year I wrote about this forthcoming premiere. Over the last few days On An Overgrown Path has been receiving a lot of traffic to my preview from people searching for reviews of Thursday's concert, far more than I would expect from a post more than a year old. A quick Google search for 'Shankar symphony premiere review' and similar terms reveals two things. First, my 2009 article appears surprisingly high on the search results. Secondly, very few reviews (in fact one - seen above) for the concert can be found by a Google search.
My point is not to talk up the importance of this blog. It is to highlight the diminishing exposure that classical music is receiving in the media, other than the ubiquitous and transparent advertorials. With Rupert Murdoch's News Corp charging for access to online content from July 1 the situation can only get worse, with the views of independent thinkers such as Richard Morrison no longer available to the casual search engine user.
Orchestras and record companies complain repeatedly that their market is shrinking. Is this surprising when it is almost impossible to find out about a concert unless you were actually there? Advertorials and offering freebies to malleable bloggers and journalists may give music PR agencies the fee income they need to maintain their lavish lifestyles. But they are not solving the problem of reaching old, yet alone new, audiences.
My traffic logs show that there are an awful lot of people round the world searching for news about classical music. Don't blame the fast disappearing mainstream media for not covering classical music. Instead blame music executives for thinking that all the new media is as gullible as the old.
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