Happy Anniversary Butts In The Seats!

Although I’m up to my eyeballs in work and fun in NYC this week, I want to take a moment to acknowledge that today marks the sixth anniversary for Joe Patti’s blog Butts In The Seats; Musings on Practical Solutions For Arts Management. I was enormously pleased when he decided to include his blog among the ranks at Inside The Arts and I firmly believe his RSS feed should be in every arts manager’s Top 10. One of his latest posts on cell phone donations is an excellent example behind why he is such an important voice within the online cultural community…

If you aren’t already familiar with Joe’s blog, stop by and set aside a meaningful amount of time to go through everything at Butts In The Seats.

In other news, Philadelphia Inquirer Classical Music Critic Peter Dobrin continues to dig deep and produce some significant reporting on the current state of the Philadelphia Orchestra. His latest contribution does a wonderful job at illustrating that there’s more to orchestral success than playing and the line between jargon friendly conversation and simply being cagey is razor thin.

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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3 thoughts on “Happy Anniversary Butts In The Seats!

  1. Peter Dobrin’s article really nails some of the reasons a highly corporate approach can be so alienating to the audience. I think he is right on about how the orchestra can repair some of that alienation.

  2. Drew-

    I had read Dobrin’s piece prior to you posting the link and meant to ask–does any orchestra do an encore? I wasn’t sure if Dobrin was citing a departure from past practices or if he was suggesting something to make concerts a little more audience friendly.


    • They do, but it is more common when they feature a soloists or are on tour. In fact, I can’t recall the last time I went to a regular subscription concert without any guest artist and the orchestra played an encore. I know part of it has to do with overtime but if concerts weren’t so long to begin with, that would provide some flexibility.

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