‘…The English Would Follow Musick and Drop Their Pence Freely’: Marketing Concerts in Eighteenth-Century London: MEDIA RESEARCH AT ROYAL HOLLOWAY

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'…here it was that the masters began to display their powers afore the wise judges of the towne, and found out the grand secret, that the English would follow musick and drop their pence freely; of which some advantage hath bin since made.' Roger North, An Essay of Musicall Ayre c.1715–20 (Wilson, 1959).

Throughout history music has played a part in public ceremonial of many kinds and those musicians who were paid for their services often relied on the patronage of court, church or the wealthy for their livelihood. In England in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century a new means of supporting music and musicians gradually began to develop alongside the patronage system. Musicians started to arrange public concerts for which they charged admission. Music was developing its own public who listened to music for its own sake rather than as part of some other ceremony, and who were prepared to pay to do so. These first commercial public concerts heralded the emergence of music as a business and its gradual move into the public sphere. How was this new business organised? Taking as its source information derived from some 5000 advertisements for concerts which appeared in newspapers published in London between 1672 (the date of the first concert advertisement) and 1750, this paper will trace the beginnings of the organisation of music as a business, focusing specifically on aspects of concert organisation and marketing.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008


  • newspapers advertising
  • concerts
  • London

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