To Tweet or Not To Tweet – A Changing Relationship with the Audience

Twitter Logo“Tweet Seats.”

That’s the usual term for one of the most controversial ideas in the orchestral world these days. Mention the idea of tweeting during a concert and you’ll likely get a strong response. Love it or hate it, people have an opinion.

In some ways, that’s good. The controversy around tweet seats often focuses on the physical disruption of the phone (the light! the tapping!), but it can also serve as a proxy to discuss the changing relationship of the audience to symphonic music. Rather than setting the music on a pedestal, with a silent, reverent audience listening in the dark… are we moving to a more interactive relationship? One where the audience is taking part in the performance in a way? Commenting, sharing, promoting, criticizing and responding. If so, how does that change the nature of our organizations? And our concerts?

A recent Conducting Business podcast from radio station WQXR explores these issues with three guests: Brent Assink, executive director of the San Francisco Symphony; John Schaefer, host of WNYC’s Soundcheck and New Sounds; and Christopher Pinelo, vice president of communications for the Cincinnati Symphony, who oversees the organization’s social media activities. Naomi Lewin leads the discussion.

It’s a fascinating conversation. Take a listen.

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