Oh, The Fees…The Fees

Blogger and San Francisco Classical Voice published a piece written by their critic, Lisa Hirsch, on 2/21/06 entitled The (High) Price of Music which examines the issues behind why already expensive classical music event tickets are even more expensive after you add the fees…


Sometimes, those fees are downright staggering writes Lisa,

The stated price is not always the final price, of course. Don’t forget those pesky per-order surcharges, often called “convenience fees.” They’re sometimes charged for the “convenience” of phone orders, but are often added for Web purchases, even though online sales cost presenters much less to administer. These surcharges range from no fees…to $13.10.

Ticket prices are already a hot topic here at Adaptistration and throughout the business in general and it’s good to find more media outlets examining this issue and publishing such a well researched articles.

Granted, some organizations have no choice when it comes to charging fees, such as those which do not own their performance venues; however, how they present those fees and surcharges is something they control. Whether or not they spend much time considering those issues is another issue.

What do you think, are fees adding insult to injury to an already high average ticket price?

Postscript: Lisa Hirsch is also the author of the wonderful cultural blog, The Iron tongue of Midnight. Stop by and give it a read during your next work break.

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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1 thought on “Oh, The Fees…The Fees

  1. Great blog! Great connection to reality! Thanks.

    The “convenience” fees are obnoxious. They feel like tricks that a presenter just learned in order to somehow get extra money out of a patron. The last time I purchased tickets for a Kennedy Center event I was jolted to learn that the ticket price wasn’t the real price. Instead the Center added (I think) an extra ten-percent charge for being willing to sell me the tickets.

    I’m not complaining directly about the price, but about the attitude that the Center can always demand exra money and that the patrons have no choice.

    This approach reminds me of an experience in my Beglian Fulbright years. The local theater posted its ticket prices. What it didn’t post was the additional fee for writing the seat number on the ticket. Without the officially inscribed seat number the ticket was invalid.

    What bothered me then and bothers me now in an implicit contempt for the patrons, who are presumed too stupid to see how they’ve been tricked.

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