Reader Response: Reduced Ticket Pricing

Recently I received an email Emily in Toronto in response to my about the special programs in Toronto and Nashville. She wanted to tell me about how the tsoundcheck program for the under 30 demographic at the Toronto Symphony has contributed to her involvement with the orchestra.

I have been enjoying the tsoundcheck program for about two years now. I am 23 years old and would never have considered going to see a performance until this program was advertised on the news. I have encouraged friends to go who are not in the 15 – 29 age group who paid full price. You might be surprised what word of mouth can do.  I’m sure these sorts of programs are going to help symphonies. The advantages may not be ten years down road but around the corner. I’m sure that orchestras haven’t meant to shut people out, but it would seem that some people have been alienated. [Having experienced] this program, it will probably encourage me to attend even when I’m too old for the tsoundcheck program. And when I have children, it will encourage me to bring them for the experience. I believe that having these programs are opportunities not only for patrons of a demographic, but also for the orchestra.

Orchestras should take this letter to heart!  Emily portrays what I have found many in her demographic feel.  Regardless of how much orchestras believe they make their performances an inclusive experience, there is a large chasm that alienates people like Emily.  Fortunately for Toronto, they have seen this problem and tapped into this generation by successfully developing a program like tsoundcheck.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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