‘Arts organisations are cr*p at social media’: we hosted a debate at the ABO conference

22 January 2016, 15:50 | Updated: 22 January 2016, 16:03

Strong words, lively debate and perhaps a wake-up call for arts brands - all the highlights from Classic FM’s debate at the ABO Conference.

Our debate

Classic FM hosted a debate on millennials in classical music at this year's Association of British Orchestras conference in Birmingham. It was ace. Here are our panellists looking delighted about their involvement:

FYI, they are Toks Dada (THSH Programme Co-ordinator), Ruth Bertram (CBSO Youth Chorus member), our very own afternoon presenter Anne-Marie Minhall and YouTube celebrity Liam Dryden.

The issues

Millennials. What are they? Why do they spend so much time on their phones? Is that good? Do they engage with classical music? Why is social media weirdly incomprehensible to many arts brands? WHY CAN’T WE UNDERSTAND YOUNG PEOPLE? All valid questions, and our panel were here to get to the bottom of them.

‘Staring at your phone is not a bad thing’

Liam told us about his early forays into creating his own YouTube channel and attracting subscribers (he’s now the proud guardian of hundreds of thousands of the little blighters), and how he interacts with culture:


Should social media be a part of the concert experience?

Ruth Bertram, aspiring singer and alarmingly young and intelligent person, thinks that it’s fine for social media to be a part of the classical music experience, but that it should never actually cause people to use their phones in the concert hall:


Give the power to young audiences

Toks Dada, who has pioneered new ways for young people to experience classical music, pointed to the power of allowing audiences to decide what they want to see - something he pushed forward during his time at Sinfonia Cymru. The result, unsurprisingly, was a load of musicians in the pub:


Why are most arts organisations not using social media in the best possible way?

One thing the panellists agreed on is that too often, orchestras in particular relied on social media that merely publicises concerts and ticket links. (Note: minor bad language ahead.)