The Residual Effects Of Good Communication

Over the weekend I received an email from an orchestra executive that commented on how much better the world of classical music would be if it was better at communication.   He talked about one topic in particular; press kits that come from guest artists and/or their managers.  Regarding that issue he had this to say:



What about exciting video footage of the artist for use in the production of television spots or internet ads? What about copies of newspaper or magazine interviews with the artist, which point out interesting things about the artist? What about more interesting bio information? What about interesting photos that show us something of the artist’s personality, instead of the dull head shots? A few artists have some of these things, but the vast majority do not, and their managers, when asked why not, simply reply that it is too expensive to produce and that “no one would use it anyway”


He couldn’t be more correct.  By clinging to a fifty year old model for press kits, guest artist managers have inadvertently contributed to the overall problem of an orchestra’s inability to communicate in a meaningful way with their audience.  All of this discussion has conspired to help me write my recent article at Partial Observer go give it a read and you’ll start to see how we can begin to move classical music back into the mainstream of American cultural consciousness.

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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