This project will investigate the role of recorded performance criticism in the classical music market and its direct impact on the consumers of recordings. In particular, it will generate an understanding of how recorded performance critique influences the music market through the lenses of critics, music consumers, and critical products. It will shed new light on the way professional music criticism is viewed by critics and consumers, and examine what aspects of critical judgements directly influence consumers’ attitudes towards music performances.
Professional critics’ reviews of recorded performances are published regularly in both paper and digital formats. One of the main aims of such reviews is to guide consumers’ purchasing choices. However, in recent decades a key debate has questioned the nature and purpose of art criticism and its function as predictor or influencer of consumers’ choices. Research by the present grant authors (“Reviews Reviewed”, 13DPD6_130269) on hundreds of reviews of Beethoven piano sonata recordings showed how, in a burgeoning market, professional critics act as evaluators and filters of choice, polarizing their reviews around a small number of interpreters and products. Yet no research to date has investigated the extent to which this is intentional, nor its impact on consumer choices and the establishment of a canon of master performances. The present project directly addresses this debate investigating the two key arising questions:
(1) What is the role of recorded performance critique in the wider classical music market from the psychological perspective of its two key stakeholders; the critics and the consumers?
(2) What characteristics of recorded performance critique most influence consumer attitudes and behaviours? These questions will be answered through a series of in-depth interviews, a large-scale survey, qualitative text analyses, and controlled experiments.
The project outputs will amount to a comprehensive overview of the current role of recording critique in the classical music market. The project is submitted to the SNSF following the joint agreement with the AHRC Council in UK, as part of the Money Follows the Co-operation Line process. It pools the competences of the Music Performance Research Group at the Hochschule Luzern – Musik (historical, systematic and cultural musicology) and of the Music, Mind and Machine Research Centre at the Department of Music, University of Sheffield (music psychology, experimental design and statistical analysis).