Here’s Alex Ross today, though you might as well go read the whole thing:
But the whole point is that there are no hits in classical music. It’s a niche market that is itself a vast conglomeration of sub-niches, from early music to the avant-garde, from Furtwängler fanciers to Toscanini types, none of whom ever agree. Collectively, however, they purchase many millions of records a year, and the Internet has made it far easier for them to find what they want….
Out in the media mainstream, any information that suggests health or lack of death in the classical area will appear counterintuitive, and will be questioned or ignored. The lack of hits guarantees a lack of coverage, because media outlets want to be able to tell their audience about the four or five big things that matter in any field — the Arcade Fire, Heroes, Spider Man 3, etc. — and this galaxy of subcultures won’t oblige. It’s so much easier to disregard the entire thing. The neverending “death of classical music” talk is the wishful thinking of the culture industry. But the fact that orchestra subscriptions, opera ticket sales, and, possibly, record sales have gone up in the last year or two suggests that music from Hildegard to Anna Clyne can still find its audiences without help from TV, magazines, and commercial radio.
Not that I give a damn, I’m in postclassical.