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The study focuses on music competitions

The study focuses on music competitions

Audience ratings in classical music competitions help more women win than jury ratings: this is the conclusion of a new study by the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU). When it comes to the subsequent success of contest participants, the decisions made by the public are more accurate than those made by experts. When it comes to nationality, the public is also more neutral.

The fact that jury and audience opinions often diverge is regularly demonstrated in competitions from the Eurovision Song Contest to the Bachmann Prize, according to a WU broadcast. Roberto Asmat from the Department of Economics at WU Vienna was interested in whether experts could really assess the quality of performance better thanks to their experience. In collaboration with Carol J. Borovitsky of the University of Southern Denmark and Mark T. Law of the University of Vermont analyzed data from the results of 370 classical music competitions held between 1979 and 2021 in 22 different countries and in which both the jury and the audience participated. Give prizes to their favourites.

The analysis showed that experts and the public agreed on average only 38% in their ruling. What was particularly notable was that both gender and origin had a negative effect on the jury's evaluations: female applicants had disadvantages in the jury's evaluation, as did people coming from the country in which the contest was held. However, Ismat does not want to conclude that there is bias against women and local residents: “Evaluating artistic performances is ultimately a matter of taste and is always subjective, so the word ‘bias’ should be used with caution here,” the researcher was quoted as saying. Broadcast.

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However, it was possible to objectively measure that the probability of winning future competitions increased if musicians had previously won audience awards. So when it comes to predicting future success, the audience's judgment is more important than the jury's ratings. However, it is not possible to reach general conclusions about evaluating artistic performances, Esmat says. Debates about the quality of art are as old as art itself, with the research team's work showing that the voices of amateurs are “as valuable as those of professionals”.