A software-developer called Touch Press is making classical music more appealing to a new generation of potential fans, reports Stuart Isacoff in The Wall Street Journal (8/29/13). "We formed the company to open people’s eyes to difficult subjects using this medium," says co-founder Max Whitby. "We’ve tackled music, literature, poetry and scientific topics … We like to think all our apps are educational, but with a small ‘e.’ We are trying not to get in the way of the subject, but to allow people to experience the material directly."
An app called "The Orchestra," for example, features "Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonic Orchestra performing eight works, from Haydn and Beethoven to Mahler, Stravinsky and Salonen himself, with a rolling score and running commentary as the music is played. There are entries on the history of the orchestra, the interpretation of the score, and more, including the ability to try out different instrumental timbres using an onscreen keyboard." An app exploring "Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony … has thus far been downloaded more than 620,000 times."
Most of those downloads were for free – but allowed users "to use the app for two minutes," and after that "they received an invitation to purchase the whole thing for $14." More than five percent did so, which is at the "high end" of the expected conversion rate. The app harkens "back to an era when music was an interactive medium." In the 19th century the piano was played at home, but music became a more passive activity with the rise of player pianos, recordings, radio, and so on. "The iPad reinvigorates the interactive mode of enjoying music, while supplying an educational element in a scope previously unavailable."