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Classical music was reported to be the fastest growing music genre among content creators in 2022. Image: Shutterstock

E:listist, obsolete, old-fashioned. Preconceptions about classical music can run deep. However, it’s a music genre that continues to find ways to reinvent itself in hopes of bringing a younger audience together. And it seems to have found its way onto social media, particularly YouTube.

So suggests the first annual report from Swedish company Epidemic Sound, which offers easy access to more than 35,000 royalty compositions. It shows that the use of classical music on YouTube has increased by 90% in the last 12 months. That would make classical music the fastest-growing genre among content creators in 2022.

So what accounts for this renewed interest in the works of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert? Their timelessness, it seems. Indeed, the phrase “classical music” itself evokes the idea of ​​the genre being unrelated to the modern era. The compositions belonging to this musical repertoire seem to cross the ages, unlike some songs that are forever associated with a very precise moment in time.

These pieces also have the advantage of conveying a wide range of emotions and can therefore be used as a soundtrack to a wide range of content. The classical repertoire is used in humorous and educational videos, as well as in news and fashion reports, reports the “Voice of the Internet” report. YouTube artist Cecilia Blomdahl uses classic artwork to introduce her 491,000 followers to her life on the Svalbard archipelago, located halfway between the North Pole and the Norwegian mainland. “Classical music […] can be both melancholic and happy depending on the footage, so the genre fits really well with the feeling I want to evoke in my videos,” he said.

Bringing classical music to new audiences

Musicians such as Christopher Mo Dittlevsen and Hampus Naeselius particularly benefit from this musical trend. The Swedish pair are the classical music composers whose works have been used in the most YouTube videos this year, according to Epidemic Sound. Also on the list are Trevor Kowalski, Megan Wofford and Franz Gordon.

For Oskar Höglund, CEO of Epidemic Sound, this can serve as inspiration for others. “I expect there will be a greater movement towards storytellers using classical music in their content, which also creates an opportunity for classical music artists to continue to modernize the genre and reach new audiences,” he explains.

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This renewed interest in classical repertoire is not limited to YouTube. It’s just as popular on TikTok, Gen Z’s favorite social network. The hashtag #classicalmusic has over 2.3 billion views on the platform. And classic pieces are featured in videos like a video of trumpeter Ibrahim Maaluf rehearsing, and a video of someone cutting pumpkin seeds into tiny slices. Here too, classical music proves its versatility. If these new uses may anger purists, they deserve to encourage younger TikTok users to discover and appreciate a music genre that is too often seen as stuffy and outdated. Indeed, research shows that under-35s have turned to classical repertoire in droves during the Covid pandemic. In fact, their consumption increased by 17% between April 2019 and April 2020, according to a joint study by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Deezer and the UK recording industry.

And it’s a phenomenon that TikTok is fully aware of. The short-form video partnered with Warner Classics to release a collection of the most-streamed songs on the app in August. All songs here have been remastered by Germany’s Babelsberg Film Orchestra, including orchestral versions of Doja Cat’s “Say So”, Alice Merton’s “No Roots” or BMW Kenny’s “Wipe It Down”. An initiative that is sure to help bring classical music to a new audience.

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