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Annals of Marketing
The Andre Rieu Phenomenon
Monday, 1st March, 2010  - David Farmer
Andre Rieu"Every time we go to air with him, we double our audience." Leo Schofield."

Retail marketing is very easy; give the customers what they want. But what actually do customers want? The following quotes are from 'Is this man bigger than the Rolling Stones' by Stephen Ellis, Weekend Australian, November, 1st -2nd, 2008; an article about the sales and marketing success of Andre Rieu in Australia.

"The violinist and his 50-member Johann Strauss Orchestra will be accompanied by ice dancers, massed choirs, a golden carriage drawn by six white horses, and a full-scale replica of Vienna's Schonbrunn Palace."

"Rieu is far from the first entertainer to harness a mix of showmanship and accessible classical music and ride them to commercial success. Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, the Vienna Philharmonic's annual New Year concerts and Liberace, the self-styled "amazing piano virtuoso" who earned a fortune from recordings and Vegas shows in the 1950's are all variants of the same recipe. But in an era when audiences and the music market are utterly fragmented, it was far from clear that there was still an opportunity for this type of music."

"With Rieu enjoying solid success on the charts in his native Netherlands, Germany and France, and with live shows in the U.S., there was clearly potential. But it took two developments in late 2006 to unlock it."

[One was being promoted on Ovation a niche pay TV channel co-founded by Leo Schofield and the other was to re-package Rieu's catalogue]

"Every time we go to air with him, we double our audience." Leo Schofield.

"The results have included a specially recorded CD-his chart-topping Waltzing Matilda-and themed compilation discs including selections of marches, movie themes, tunes to cook to, and tracks suitable for funerals."

"Schofield believes Rieu taps into an audience for both traditional (pre-rock) popular music and classical music, much as the 19th century Viennese composers of the waltzes and polkas that make up the largest part of his repertoire did in their era....It's easy to be snide about his popularity but he's an absolute perfect fit for the times..... he's wholesome, projects a tremendous amiability, and you can see in his concerts that he believes his music is fun and should be fun for the audience too."

"Rieu plays a blend of what Schofield calls "foot tapping melodies" and sound-bites of pieces that everyone has heard before at some time in their life."

"Universal may capture lightning in a bottle a second time. But it seems more likely that Rieu is a one-off: the right performer in the right place at the right time to meet a pent-up demand for a certain style of music, handled by his label in the right way, and enough of a showman to pull it off."

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