Tyler Cowen has a nice post on the economics of classical music. I think he’s right, and that the success of classical music rests on philanthropist attention and on satellite radio. I also think that popular, charismatic, virtuoso performers will contribute to classical music’s fate, by their presence or absence. Wynton Marsalis and Yo-Yo Ma are the type of attractive headliners that keep people coming to concerts.
Mentioning Wynton Marsalis makes me think of another important economic aspect: product differentiation and sensitivity to the preferences of your audience. The Chicago Symphony is outstanding and well-attended. But Chicago is also a jazz town, and the Chicago Symphony puts on a very good jazz concert series (sponsored by Ameritech/SBC); in fact, Wynton Marsalis is an artist-in-residence right now, I think. Some of your jazz audience will be interested in a cross-sell to classical, and vice versa.