A Little More Follow-Up On Ticket Prices

The Dallas Morning News published an article by music critic Scott Cantrell, easily one of the journalists that makes it onto my shortlist of good critics, which examines some of the Dallas Symphony’s 05-06 ticket sales…

Scott’s piece serves as a good chaser to the recent discussion here from 6/1 and 6/8 . The article reports that although the Dallas Symphony ended up with a cumulative increase in attendance, ticket sales to masterworks concerts fell 6 percent.

Scott’s piece also serves to inspire a number of good questions:

  • Did Dallas’ new Impromptu ticket program have any influence on the drop in classical sales and the increase in attendance at pops and special events?
  • Was the shift in attendance due to series programming, scheduling, or pricing?
  • Perhaps most importantly, will the DSO management attempt to track these issues in order to better refine their offerings and boost attendance for each concert series?
  • Of course, one of the more intriguing aspects surrounding many of these questions is timing. Since most organizations have much of the new season’s programming established before the current season is complete, is it possible to implement any lessons learned from the above questions with any effectiveness?

    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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