Here's an incisive take on ye olde health-of-classical-music debate from Matthew Guerrieri. I'd add this: those involved with presenting classical music shouldn't be averse to creating (or attempting to create) what economists call "bandwagon effects" or "network effects." But if you make such effects your chief priority, you're headed for trouble. There's a fruitful middle ground between desperation marketing and entrenched snobbery (which is a refined form of hooey). The Mostly Mozart Festival, which I write about this week, has found it.
Update: Very sensible thoughts from Alex Wellsung, although I don't agree that "there are clearly some broad differences in the character of the listening experience and the nature of intellectual engagement entailed in classical and, say, the blues." In theory, yes; in reality, no. It depends very much on who's listening. There are total idiots in the classical audience and there are very brilliant people who have deep intellectual engagement with the blues. I go back to my college-radio days, when the people in the punk-rock department were certifiably smarter than the classical people, myself included.