Comparing Publicity

In the wake of the 2005 Orchestra Website Review, I had some intriguing discussions with a few soloists. We were talking about how their managers employ PR professionals to create an online image to promote their public image.

Each conversation eventually led to the differences between how their PR professionals work at publicizing them as opposed to how an orchestra’s PR department publicizes the orchestra musicians. Both PR professionals have the same base requirements; they have to generate interest among the general public in classical music and the artists who create it.

Why then is there such a stark difference between how many soloists and orchestra musicians are publicized? You can find some examples of those differences in an article The Partial Observer published today which examines some of these issues in detail.

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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