Published April 28, 2020 | Version v1
Journal article Open

Consumers on Critique: A Survey of Classical Music Listeners' Engagement with Professional Music Reviews


Music criticism has a long tradition as a leading agent in the classical music discourse. However, some people question its function in the contemporary music market. We explored the topicality of classical music critique by asking: Who reads professional reviews today? And what do readers expect from review? Through an online survey (English/German), we profiled the listening habits of classical music listeners (N . 1200) and their engagement with professional reviews. Our participants were more actively engaged with music, but contrary to the ‘highbrow’ stereotype, not more highly musically trained than the general population. They consumed music and opinion sources in a variety of ways. Approximately two-thirds (n . 741) of the participants had recently engaged with professional reviews, which were perceived as the most useful form of opinion, followed by short written commentaries and, lastly, ratings. A multiple logistic regression model suggested that the typical consumer of professional music critique was older with higher levels of musical engagement and education, had a higher inclination to purchase music and lower usage of streaming services, and had a preference for detailed reviews from traditional sources (e.g. newspapers). According to review readers, reviews should cover a variety of topics and offer evaluations underpinned with reasons. Reviewers should be constructive, open-minded, respectful, and well informed; their professional background was less relevant. Professional reviews should not necessarily provide a recommendation on what to buy, but rather guide listeners’ musical appreciation and understanding. Professional criticism still has an audience, although more so among older, musically educated listeners. Critics need to explore various channels in order to connect to a new generation of classical music listeners.


+ ID der Publikation: hslu_78734 + Art des Beitrages: Wissenschaftliche Medien + Jahrgang: 3 + Sprache: Englisch + Letzte Aktualisierung: 2020-07-16 16:32:28



Additional details

Related works

Is identical to
10.1177/2059204320931337 (DOI)