Classical controversy

Is classical music alive or dead? Growing or dying?

Those are the questions hotly debated right now through blogs and Twitter. A spate of recent articles and blog posts spurred the debate.

First came Anne Midgette’s article in the Washington Post, “Classical Artists Chart Big on Billboard with Little Sales” In it, she outlines how classical albums can chart with sales of less than 1,000 units, suggesting that no one’s buying classical music (so how much longer can it last?).

Then Alex Ross wrote a disquieting piece for the New Yorker. “The Fatal X” (with a now-famous graph) shows the audience for classical music is dying off, and it’s not being replaced by aging Gen Xers.

As all of that was being discussed, up cropped a different view. The last word seems to be with the anonymous author of the Proper Discord blog. The author lists “Ten Cliches in Classical Music Journalism” and proceeds to take them apart. It’s a fresh way of looking at information we’ve heard over and over, and that’s what prompted the discussion.

What do you think?

Do you agree with Anne Midgette?
“The dirty secret of the Billboard classical charts is that album sales figures are so low, the charts are almost meaningless.”

Or do you have the Proper Discord’s point of view?
“Mercedes Benz has a 3% share of the US car market. They aren’t worried about extinction. Why should we be scared?”

Read the articles and discuss. Believe me, everyone else is!

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