What was the last symphonic music you listened to? There’s a good chance that it was in a videogame. According to the Wall Street Journal, orchestras are shoring up shrinking concert revenue by playing videogame music. Unlike other forms of popular music, many videogame soundtracks are already filled with brass, strings, and choral arrangements – a natural fit for expensive city orchestras. The music covers a wide variety of subject matter and styles, while having a built-in audience. Most importantly, that audience skews younger and hipper than traditional classical music concert-goers and they spend more money on souvenirs. To many cities’ music directors, concerts like The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, are essential for keeping orchestras in the green. Additionally, city orchestras are being hired to perform the original soundtracks for videogames, further supplementing their income.
As with any evolving art, some supporters of the traditional performances are less than enthusiastic of the new repertoires.
“From a business-strategy perspective, it completely devalues the brand,” said Roderick Branch, a 39-year-old lawyer in Chicago who attends symphony-orchestra performances about once a week. The very idea, he said, is “akin to Mouton Rothschild using its wine to make and sell sangria.”
Hold on to your monocles and opera capes! Videogame fans are coming!