Charlotte Landrum of the Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston sends along the news that the Gardner's weekly classical podcast, The Concert, is currently ranked #31 among all iTunes podcasts, ahead of Sen. Barack Obama, the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, and The Man Show. It's racked up almost one hundred thousand downloads in eighty-one countries. What strikes me about these blip-like appearances of classical music on the national radar screen is that they take place almost entirely without the support of mainstream American media and big-league advertising. Imagine what might happen if Hollywood studios, TV networks, and national magazines actually showed a flicker of interest in the subject.
Paul Cantrell sagely replies: "[The plea for broader media coverage] is a double-edged wish. One of the reasons for the current flourishing of classical music is that it's largely grassroots and below the mass music radar. Mass production eats art alive, and that's what happens when the recording industry decides something is big business. Unnoticed popularity is an ideal state for us artists."