I ran across an interesting blog post at evancarmichael.com about Akio Morita, founder of Sony. Within a series of installments that chronicle the growth of Morita’s company, there is one post called "Create the Market Where There Is None." The article goes on to examine some specific components where Sony profited by focusing on creating a market as opposed to meeting a perceived demand and although those examples don’t necessarily apply to the business of creating live orchestra classical music, the strategic thinking behind those ideas fit like a glove…
There isn’t much I find more disappointing these days than to hear
someone say "Well, if people aren’t buying tickets for orchestra
concerts, there must not be any demand." Favoring an outlook of
"creating demand" over "supply and demand" is an issue the business
doesn’t spend enough time developing. The latest incarnation of that
misplaced effort is Robert Flanagan’s – now notorious – report: The Economic Environment of American Symphony Orchestras.
If this business spent the same amount of effort and resources
on figuring out how creating and maintaining capacity audiences reaches
all aspects of governance and administration as it does to have
seemingly continuous discussions about identifying artificial
limitations (i.e. structural deficits) then we might just get capacity
audiences. Since finishing the Flanagan report, I was struck by the
complete absence of any component which focused on the topic of
creating a market. Granted, it isn’t a simple topic to frame with
quantitative analysis; after all, in order to look forward you can’t
spend all of your time looking over your shoulder.
Just in case anyone might think this is all I’ll write about
the Flanagan report, you may or may not be correct. I’m still trying to
get a grip on if I should write anything and if so, what that content
should focus on. In the meantime, running across the Akio Morita article inspired me to freshen up this topic. What are your thoughts?