Internet is a main source of information in a Digital age. To find something, all you need to do is to type the corresponding term into the browser search box.
Each term has its own search history in the global internet. Popular words have rather large search history, while rarely used words have a modest one. This disparity reflects the real difference of people’s interests in society.
How about we apply this approach to the classical music, and find out how people’s interest changed in the Digital age?
It’s not widely known that Google makes it possible. The feature called Google Trends shows data of shift in people’s interest in particular term over a definite period of time.
The maximum time period observed on Google Trends is from November 2004 to the present day, i.e. 13 years. Geographical options comprise both the global and the country-specific search.
I turned to this service to examine how often people looked for “classical music” over the last 13 years.
The first what I noticed was the global four-fold decrease of the interest.
Country-specific option for selected Western countries returned basically the same result – the two- to four-fold decrease of the interest.
Austria and Germany showed the least decrease in the Western world, and actually the constancy of interest over the last decade.
Then I targeted non Western countries, Asia first of all.
Given that Asian musicians explicitly dominate in classical music in the 21 century, it was naturally to expect Asian countries to show more encouraging results.
To my surprise, Japan did not come up to these expectations - it showed approximately the two-hold decrease of the interest over the last 13 years.
The same did South Korea.
At last it was China that allowed me say “Eureka” - three- to four-hold increase over the last 5 years!
Moreover, China was the only country in the world which demonstrated clear increase in search activity for classical music.
It would be shortsighted to interpret these Google results too directly. Many factors concerning people’s interest in classical music are not reflected in this statistic. However, it should be considered as such. The positive dynamic in China and the negative dynamic in the majority of the other countries is an objective fact.
The next fact is the inquisitiveness about classical music in China - it originates either from the young and middle generations, since seniors are not active users of the internet.
This provides favourable atmosphere for the classical music in this country for the next decades. In addition, it increases chances be conveyed to the new generations as a cultural value.
Perhaps it is a wise cultural policy of Chinese government that caused this situation, or inherent Chinese musicality, or some other reasons. Anyway, it is quite obvious that China is emerging as a next global guardian of the Western classical music.
Congratulations to the people of Confucius!
Photo from http://www.thegoldenscope.com