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In the past 10 years the web has provided orchestras a second digital stage to perform on.

After the first few years of rapid technology shifts and user experience changes the seeds are getting ripe. Now more than ever smartphones are in everyday use and social media management is a quintessensial part of the marketing strategies of big corporations. This study portrays orchestra user profiles and the integration of social media in the German Orchestra landscape. German orchestras miss a great opportunity to connect with audiences by not giving importance to their social media presence. Social media integration on official websites is being neglected and the quality of the added content indicates a lack of direction and scheduling. Most orchestras are only present on the internet and social media channels as a part of their overhead institution (theatre, opera house). [Data: 48% on facebook, 74% on twitter and 67% on youtube ] This prevents orchestras from creating an attractive online image for themselves and attracting new audiences. Only half the professional orchestras in Germany are present on social media with a profile dedicated to the orchestra. A clear indicator of the situation is that the Berliner Philharmonic outperforms the rest of the orchestras added together on some social media channels. Even though it is unfair to compare an orchestra with local impact and limited resources with a well-funded and globally accepted brand, there is a lot of room for improve-

ment and creativity that is not being taken advantage of. Most orchestras consist of some very talented and educated musicians with a unique voice that could make a difference online. Putting the orchestra as a living organism on the forefront of their social media campaigns in an orchestrated way is a huge step in converting and attracting new audiences.

Facebook is the most straighforward social media channel so its not surprising, that this is the social media channel most frequently used by the orchestras. [Data: 88% of the active orchestras are present on facebook] However, many of the orchestras are present on facebook only through the institution which they are part of. [Data: only
46% of orchestras have a dedicated Facebook page highlighting the orchestra]

orchestra should reflect its mission statement in its presence online in order to remind people of its valueable role in society. The audiences proficiency in social media raises the bar for orchestras which have to keep up with media competent followers. Keeping a follower base healthy and growing requires the same level of attention a well rehearsed performance does.

In many cases the Facebook page of the orchestra is not handled with care. Some Orchestras are still registered as a normal individual and do not take advantage of the artist account facebook offers since 2012. Building an image that fits the excellence and elegance of an orchestra requires equally potent media competence. The number of fans of the orchestras Facebook pages is very low. This is even more disappointing, since a symphonic orchestra could grow its Facebook fan number relatively easily by posting events and taggable photos from concerts all activity from orchestra members, fans would attract new fans to the Facebook page. [Data: average number of likes for those orchestras which have a Facebook page specifically for the orchestra, excluding the Berliner Philharmoniker: 581]

In order to keep the digital audience entertained a healthy mix of media content and storytelling is needed. In many cases the posts on Facebook are made without care for details or content. An institution like an

Twitter requires the fastest response time out of all the social media. The nature of short texts and spontaneous expression lead to very strong interaction between the users and provides a platform for declaration of feelings, emotions and very often hard critisism. A musical performance can evoke all kinds of reactions and comments which inevitably will also be expressed on twitter. Even though most orchestras are not present on twitter, the average number of followers are still higher than on facebook. [Data: average number of twitter followers for those orchestras which have a twitter channel specifically for the orchestra, excluding the Berliner Philharmoniker: 927] The benefits of connec-

channel to broadcast their news, twitter allows orchestras to communicate in a simple way and stay interconnected. Another important benefit is the possibility to follow the news of their VIP contacts and sponsors and engage with them on a digital level. Allowing tweeting during performances - which can also be disruptive - is just one of the many ways twitter can be used by an orchestra. Giving people a voice by collecting their comments on a twitterbased guestbook or building up a more personal connection to the audience is far more effective.

ting to the audience on a more personal way are still not evident for german orchestras and this is visible on the statistics too. [Data: only 48% of the orchestras active on social media are present on twitter, and this number drops to 13% , when looking at twitter channels created specifically for the orchestra]

Twitter can serve as an instrument to connect to both the audience and the community surrounding an orchestra. It is by far the most accessible way for people to get acquainted with the orchestra, its members and the world of classical music. At the same time the orchestras have to be prepared for an open dialog with friends and critics online. Twitter is a great channel for orchestras to keep in touch not only with their audience, but with other orchestras, soloists, guest conductors, composers... Besides being a

Youtube is a social media channel that gives a symphonic orchestra the opportunity to attract attention to its performances not only from its own geographical area but from all around the world. Through watching a video - despite losing on sound quality - a viewer may get a unique visual experience. Seeing the instrumentalists play from so close provides a unique perspective not possible in a concert. Even though experiencing an orchestra performance live is indispensable, opening a digital window into the concert hall creates an immense effect. The Berliner Philharmoniker have managed to create the Symphonic Orchestra 2.0 that is, a symphonic orchestra, which breaks the traditional going to the concert way of operation. With the introduction of their Digital Concert Hall, they created ticket-buying audiences all around the world. Despite the clear advantage of making the orchestra visually appealing on a video sharing platform, a big part of the orchestras are neglecting this possibility. [Data: 72% of the orchestras are present on youtube,
and only 23% have a dedicated youtube channel]

The biggest advantage of uploading content is the fact that it opens the orchestral experience to diverse audiences. Production costs are a limitation that can be overcome with creative ideas and focusing on the human element of coexisting within an orchestra. An aspect of online film material that has been overseen is its educational and inspirational value.

Attracting attention on youtube proves to be really effective for symphonic orchestras. The number of times an upload of the Berliner Philharmoniker is watched is on average almost 40,000 times. On average an orchestra with a dedicated youtube account excluding the Berliner Philharmoniker has 1500 views per video uploaded. A simple upload creates a long-lasting, positive effect thus is probably the most effective way to interact with the audience on social media.

The rise of smartphones has given even more people access to the internet. At the same time this changes the way especially young people perceive communication. The subsequent rise of social networks is the first impact of this transition, the second being that mobile applications and websites are in steps becoming the main web presentation format. Despite Germany being one of the most developed areas in the world regarding symphonic orchestra culture, only 17% of all mobile applications worldwide belong to german orchestras. There is a lot of ground that has to be covered in order for orchestras to keep up with the rest of the music and entertainment industries. Excelling on the mobile internet stage is crucial so that orchestras can sustainably preserve and grow their audiences. Neglecting mobile users translates into excluding the majority of young people who mainly communicate and get informed over smartphones. Mobile applications can serve as a vehicle for audience development, educational projects and even be the driver for new sponsoring models. After the first years in which Apples iOS dominated the mobile app landscape due to its iphone device the market is becoming more complex. The competition now includes googles Android, Windows Mobile, Blackberrys Z10 and Mozillas firefoxOS. In order to keep up in a sustainable way orchestras should focus on the universally

compatible HTML5 apps with responsive design that operate on all of the aforementioned smartphone operating systems. Additionally a technology that is increasigly becoming popular in the cultural sector is the use of QR codes for a variety of advertising and ticketing purposes. Having a mobile strategy and integrating it with the social media content management is a necessity for the future of orchestra audience development. Design thinking and user experience analysis are the decisive success factors. Just like a musician has to focus on what the audience is hearing the mobile applications should be user friendly and in tune with the users needs.

Music is arguably the most emotional way to tell a story. Melodies and rhythm fuse into what we perceive as a composition. A musical story is being told with the most abstract non-verbal narrative. Orchestral music is probably one of the most complex and still effective forms of human communication ever developed. Suprisingly orchestras are showing no sign of consciousness for the necessity to tell a good story over their social media presence that compliments their musical storytelling. Storytelling is one of the most ancient forms of knowledge management and can serve as an important instrument to build a brand awareness. In order to be able to tell a story online each orchestra has to be aware of its tradition, its mission statement and the values that it represents. Equally important is having a project implementation plan and a clear overview of the orchestras goal setting both on an artistic and management level. This ensures that creating a content strategy that spreads over the complete social media and internet presence will indeed reflect and promote the orchestras branding. Storytelling is by definition all about conveying events and information in a charming way. Social media provides the infrastructure for orchestras to share stories, photos, music, videos and other media formats in order to attract more people to their concert halls. A very important aspect of storytelling a lot of orchestras are embracing is portraying the protagonists of the plot.

Introducing the musicians, the conductor and very often the people behind the scenes is giving the viewer insight on the human aspect of music. [Data: 15 of the orchestras taken into account in the study have a blog]. Being interested in other peoples stories is part of the human nature and a way to make the orchestras operation tangible for the public. Running a blog, especially if the content is well written, is also a charming way to keep the fans of the orchestra informed and close to the orchestra. Creating magazines with orchestra related content can be a great way for brand building and audience engagement. Providing a digital version of such a magazine and sharing it online on an ad-hoc basis can be very rewarding. Orchestra magazines can contain interviews with musicians or guest artists, overviews about tours, historic reflections and tell an interesting story instead of merely providing the concert schedule. [Orchestras with such publications and magazines include the following: Berliner Philharmoniker, Philharmoniker Hamburg, Semperoper Dresden, Grzenich-Orchester Kln, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig] In the case of orchestra magazines, the emphasis should shift from advertising and infotainment towards a storyline that creates brand awareness.

Orchestras consist out of a variety of instrumentalists performing different instruments. Curating content on social media platforms should be also approached in the same way a composer carefully assigns melodies to specific instruments. Orchestras have to use special channels to get diverse content to their audiences. Keeping the audience engaged and close to the orchestra requires a media competent content manager. Music, video, photos, interviews and even sheet music can be used to attract, entertain and educate the followers over the various social media streams. Understanding and respecting the unique culture, user experience and functions of each social media instrument is fundamental for every social media campaign. Creating a sign-up option for newsletters on the website is a great way for the orchestra to build an email database of its followers. A logical conclusion is, that an orchestra, which does not have a newsletter sign-up option on its website, does also not have an email database of its fans. Having a sign-up option on the website is only the first step towards success. Newsletters should be integrated in the social media channels and contain links that encourage the reader to follow the orchestra on social media. Creating attractive and timely newsletters with respect to the audience is probably the most neglected task in the classical music industry.

Along with facebook, twitter and youtube, orchestras have the following alternatives at their disposal: google+ Googles alternative to facebook offers a variety of new features integrating google services pinterest The concept is based on a digital pinwall on which photos and notes can be shared vimeo A video hosting platform offering a bright variation of videosizes and formats

flickr The worlds biggest photo sharing community and storing platform instagram A photo sharing network popular for its image manipulating aesthetic

openphot o

openphoto The open source photo storage alternative focusing on combining apps and storage soundcloud The largest audio-based social network. Offering streaming and storage of music musescore A sheet music exchange and online storing community with some innovative features

Each social media channel has its own unique frequency range and outreach. In order to optimally engage the audience a content management and distribution strategy are necessary. Similar to an orchestral piece, different melodies require different instrumentation and dynamics. Developing a content strategy and integrating social media, blogging, apps and websites is a time consuming task. In the past 5 years especially due to the popularity of smartphones, the way social media channels resonate has changed. Most platforms had to radically change their user interface of even their main functionality in order to keep up with the rapidly changing trends. Adapting to constant changes in the design of social media platforms has discouraged a lot of cultural institutions from reinvesting their time and limited resources in redesigning their campaigns. Another factor that has to be taken into account is that an orchestra has to nurture more than one profiles on different platforms. Having at least a facebook, twitter and youtube account is a precondition to be taken into account by the social media community. Two problems arise due to the multiple platform situation. One is that the task of keeping the accounts updated becomes exponentially time consuming and the other is the content management. Posting the same content in multiple channels creates more noise instead of strengthening the signal. It is important that content streams are distributed over

the media in the same sense a composition consists of complementary melodies and rhythmic patterns. Most orchestras have to face the dilemma of conforming to the expectations of their existing audience or making attractive campaigns for young people. The same dynamic is mirrored on the content presented on social media platforms. Orchestras seem to be having difficulties in building a bridge between tradition and innovation. Their social media repertoire is limited and haunted by this contradiction. The obvious exception, and an outlier in our data is the Berliner Philharmoniker. This orchestra is a best practice example, using all their social media channels in a really well orchestrated way. The implementation of world-class innovations, like the Digital Concert Hall in recent years has also provided the orchestra video material that is not available to smaller orchestras. At the same time their brand builds up on highlighting the unique voice 128 musicians have. Even though the financial resources and branding of the Berliner Philharmoniker are hardly comparable to other orchestras, there is a lot to be learned from their practices. Each orchestra has a unique voice that should also be recognisible in its social media perfomances.

The german orchestra landscape has suffered budget cuts, orchestra mergers and even the closing of orchestras in the past 20 years. The worst aspect of this constant pressure is that this already by nature conservative world, has become even more risk averse. That leads to a lack of new concepts and distracts orchestras from innovating and taking centerstage in the performing industry. Creative ideas do not necessary require millions of euros to implement successfully. Lifting the financial constrain by integrating the musicians and actually listening to the people performing the music can and will have an impact on the audience. At the same time copying ideas from the pop industry with a delay of 5 years isnt the point and neither fits nor justifies the reasons an orchestra should exist and be supported. The educational aspects of what an orchestra has to offer go way beyond providing a musical experience to its audience. Every performance is a hommage on what is possible when people collaborate and perform in real time. In other words an orchestra can and should inspire people to learn to collaborate, tolerate each other and search for common goals to meaningfully contribute to society. All those aspects seem to be out of focus for most orchestras which sadly treat social media and the internet as a digital advertising billboard.

Still there are also some other orchestras, which are implementing creative approaches in their online presence. Some best practice examples we documented for their concept or implementation are listed below.
The Grzenich Orchester offers their audience a recording of the concert that is subsequently available for download via itunes

The Gewandhaus offers an interesting collection of audio podcasts The Bremer Philharmoniker gave their audience the opportunity to vote for pieces to be performed The Nrnberger Symphony has put a lot of care and emotional content in their online media library. presse_mediathek_fotos.htm

The Komische Oper Berlin offers Behind the Curtain special tours for its audience guided-tour-special--make-up/6/

The Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie: Philharmonic open symphonic music making for amateur musicians

Audience development will heavily rely on social media in the near future. The classical industry will have to adapt to the rapidly changing entertainment business. Understanding the dynamics of social networks, being adept in their usage and providing rich content are requirements that have to gradually be met. Building up a brand as well as providing an interesting storyline backbone to the posts is essential. Postponing the integration of classical marketing methods, public relations strategies and social media is only going to eventually lead to higher costs for the orchestras. An important shift that has to be made the way orchestras work online is towards design thinking and user experience optimization. Respecting both the needs of the user and the requirements of devices like smartphones and tablets maximizes the accessibility of online content and information. Additionally, surprising the audience with creative ideas and the use of new technologies like augmented reality can attract young people to concerts and change the image of classical orchestras. Developing an understanding for online privacy and promoting fair use of their online content is a necessity in todays online society. Raising the bar through awareness on critical issues of the digital domain and becoming a rolemodel for digital citizenship is a responsibility we would like to see orchestras live up to. Last but not least orchestras could proactivelly give access to the beauty of music to the less privileged members of our society.

In an era in which austerity is becoming the main problem of the cultural sector, orchestras are put under immense presure to justify their existence. Building a strong lasting relationship with their audience and the community, both locally and online, is the best form of self-defence. Orchestras should embrace social media, use it consciously with sufficient respect towards the users of social media platforms and their online culture.

Data disclaimer
The study is based on data collected and evaluated until January 2013. For more information and insight on the data please contact:

More infographics can be found online at:

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence


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