Audience Study


Summary and key figures

One and a half years after its inauguration in January 2015, the Philharmonie de Paris, with the French Directorate-General for Artistic Creation Direction (DGCA), and Department of Studies, Prospects and Statistics (DEPS) within the Ministry of Culture, undertook a study to better know the various segments of its audience.

Within the mission vested by its governing authorities—the French Ministry of Culture and the City of Paris—the Cité de la musique - Philharmonie de Paris is a laboratory for developing new audiences, continuing the aims of reaching a more diverse audience and democratising access to music which the Cité de la musique has championed since its inception.
The quantitative study, the largest such study to date for a cultural establishment, surveyed the individual adult audience (age 15 and higher) over an entire season, from September 2016 to August 2017. In all, 38,185 surveys were collected.

The main findings of the study are presented herein.



The average age of the individual adult audience of the Cité de la musique - Philharmonie de Paris is comparable to the average age of the French population age 15 and over, i.e., 48 years.


Visitors of the Musée de la musique and exhibitions make up the youngest audience segments.

New spectators, for both classical and non-classical concerts1, are significantly younger (41.1 years as compared to 52.9 years for previous spectators2).

The average age of spectators for classical music concerts (51.3 years) is lower than that found in previous studies3. However, it is still higher than the average age for non-classical concerts (42.7 years).

The average age of adults taking part in educational and cultural activities, or accompanying children, is 47.3 years, and the average age of participants (children and adults) in cultural and educational activities4 is 28.9 years.


  • 52% of audience members live outside Paris proper: 37% in Île-de-France (Greater Paris, inner and outer suburbs) and 15% in another French region.
  • 48% of audience members live in Paris; the best-represented districts (arrondissements) are those of eastern and especially north-eastern Paris (52% of the Parisian audience).

Within the audience as a whole, visitors of the Musée de la musique are those with the most diversified geographic origins: more than half of this group reside in regions other than Île-de-France (Greater Paris), or abroad.


The variety of programming on offer has helped reach a wider audience: for the 2016-2017 season (a year and a half after its opening), the Cité de la musique - Philharmonie de Paris audience included one third newcomers.


The Musée de la musique and exhibitions, especially those on non-classical music, are the primary entryway for newcomers, a more diverse segment: more than 55% of Musée and exhibition visitors are coming to the Cité de la musique - Philharmonie de Paris for the first time.

Meanwhile, attendance by the most regular audience members is centered primarily on concert programming: half attend only classical music concerts, while the other half choose more variety. Newcomers represent almost 20% of concert-goers in general, and 31% of spectators for special projects (artistic projects that combine music and images, dance, or any other artistic form) offered by the institution.


30% of concert-goers had never been to the Cité de la musique or Salle Pleyel before the Philharmonie de Paris opened in 20154: 19% of them were coming for the first time to see a concert at the Philharmonie de Paris, while 11% had already come to more than one concert since the opening in 2015.

The profile of newcomers is more diverse than that of audiences attending the two establishments before 2015, and the average age (41.1 years) is lower by around 12 years than that of previous regular concert-goers, including for classical concerts. In addition, fewer newcomers have received musical training, and more of them consider themselves “novices”.


The theme-based weekend programming offers various concert formats, often participatory, throughout the day, affordable rates, and a wide range of activities open to all audiences. This framework encourages audiences to circulate throughout the different possibilities the establishment has to offer. The study findings show that 1 in 4 concert-goers and almost half the participants in an educational activity also take part in another activity over the course of the weekend.

The audience attending thematic weekends at the Cité de la musique - Philharmonie de Paris is different from audiences during the week, hailing from more diverse geographic origins and representing more young spectators and families with children. Thus, weekend programming is helping reach a broader and younger audience.


According to the study, 65% of the Cité de la musique - Philharmonie de Paris audiences have a higher-education degree (three years of study or more), compared to 21% for the population of Greater Paris (Île-de-France) and 11% of the general population of France. This is a common situation for the audiences of cultural institutions in general; regular attendance is strongly linked to individuals’ education level6.

However, new concert-goers have an appreciably lower education level (59% have a degree representing 3 or more years of higher education).


The audiences of the Cité de la musique - Philharmonie de Paris declare an extremely high level of satisfaction in every area of the establishment’s activities. 97% of audience members say they are satisfied with their experience, and the vast majority of them are even very satisfied (74% of concert-goers and 64% of Musée de la musique or exhibition visitors). More than 80% of audience members say they intend to come again to the Cité de la musique - Philharmonie de Paris within the year following their visit.



This audience study distinguished six different groups of spectators/visitors, corresponding to different ways of partaking of what is on offer at the Cité de la musique - Philharmonie de Paris. These groups are broken down into two main categories:

  • spectators primarily attending concerts represent 50% of the establishment’s overall audience, evenly shared between “classical music aficionados” (who primarily attend classical music concerts) and “eclectic music lovers” (who are more open to the diversity of musical genres). These two categories are made up of regulars at the Philharmonie de Paris.
  • The other audience segments have a more varied manner of partaking of the establishment’s programming: while they do attend concerts, especially non-classical concerts, visiting the Musée and exhibitions is much more frequent than in the previous group. These segments include: “occasional visitors” (5 spectators out of 20), often from outside Greater Paris, representing one fourth of the establishment’s audience, “neo-visitors” (2 out of 20), and “expert foreigners” (1 out of 20). Finally, “spectator participants” (2 out of 20), whom almost exclusively make up the workshop attendees, are those who take the most advantage of the diversity of events and activities on offer at the Philharmonie de Paris. They are characterised by close geographic proximity with the establishment.


he findings of this first audience study, carried out one and a half years after the opening of the Cité de la musique - Philharmonie de Paris, show that the establishment has succeeded in creating a dynamic to reach a more diverse and younger audience, while also developing its national and international impact. The programming choices are also supported by the particularly high rate of satisfaction among all audience sectors.

This study is part of an ongoing assessment process: it represents the point zero against which future results must be analysed as these behaviours continue to be studied over time.

Total audience of the Cité de la musique - Philharmonie de Paris including children


The study covers the adult audience (age 15 and over) of the Cité de la musique - Philharmonie de Paris, representing 72% of the total paying audience. In addition, some 300,000 children not counted in the survey attended our paid activities over the course of 2016-2017 season, 26% within a family context, and 76% through a school activity or social programme.

Beyond the scope of the survey, the average age of the total audience of the Cité de la musique - Philharmonie de Paris (adults and children) is estimated at 37.2 years (this estimate is based on the results of the survey of individual audience members age 15 years and over and the children accompanying them, compiled with data on audience members attending as part of a group activity). Thanks to the wide range of activities for children and youth, this average age is considerably lower than that of the French population (41.1 years).

Moreover, 79% of the children who came to the Cité de la musique - Philharmonie de Paris with their school or through a social programme are from priority neighbourhoods under City of Paris’s social cohesion policy (Politique de la ville) or priority education networks (Réseaux Prioritaires d’Éducation).

1 Concerts from the symphonic repertoire, chamber music, recital, baroque or contemporary music genres make up the “classical concert” group, and those from the jazz, pop, current and world music genres make up the “non-classical concert” group.

2 Spectators having already attended a concert at the Cité de la musique or Salle Pleyel before the opening of the Philharmonie de Paris in January 2015.

3The average audience age for classical concerts at the Cité de la musique - Philharmonie de Paris is 5.9 years lower than that measured in France by the Association française des orchestres (AFO) during its 2013-2014 study of orchestra audiences.

4 Cultural and educational activities cover the range of activities offered for children, families and adults.

5 The Cité de la musique opened in 1995 and oversaw management of the Salle Pleyel from 2006 to 2014.

6 For example, nationally, the rate of museum and exhibition visitors is 5 times higher among holders of higher-education degrees (3 years of study or more) than people without higher education degrees.

CREDOC, Les Visites du patrimoine culturel et la question de la gratuité, Collection des rapports, No. 326, March 2016.