Take My Blog, Please

Just imagine it: having hundreds of readers pour pore over every word you write about on an orchestra business topic of your choice. I’m giving away Adaptistration for one day at the end of the month to someone who wants it. All you have to do is write in and let me know who you are (if I don’t know you already), what you want to write about, and I’ll select one person to join the other guest bloggers I’ve already invited…

The only fine print is you have to put your real name to your post and you shouldn’t already author a culture blog. Beyond that, there no restrictions and the individual selected will need to provide their blog post by Monday, July 19. So what are you waiting for, drop me a note and tell me what you want to write about!

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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7 thoughts on “Take My Blog, Please”

  1. I don’t want your blog, but I would like to purpose a topic for discussion: should orchestras move to smaller accommodations?
    I’ve got a recent concert cancellation by Dallas Symphony on my mind. They canceled because they couldn’t sell half of the seats in their hall. My gut reaction was: change the venue! (OK, they canceled the day before the concert, but still, they must have seen it coming weeks in advance.)
    A smaller hall would mean less overhead, intimacy with the audience (similar to chamber concerts), and sold-out shows.
    Bring out the bulldozers or ready the “For Sale” signs, it’s moving time.

    • That’s certainly a good topic Rory and one we’ve covered here in the past. In general, having a universal type of discussion is difficult since the venue seat capacity is different at just about every orchestra. For example, Nashville Symphony’s new hall has around half the number of seats as Cincinnati’s primary venue.

      But one of the problems of applying a smaller=better solution is how that impacts earned income. Again, in Nashville’s case, they ultimately determined seat size based on a variety of factors from artistic requirements through earned income potential. Moreover, smaller, doesn’t always mean more intimate and I believe that’s one of the things some of the acoustician guest bloggers here have covered. I would also add that smaller doesn’t guarantee sold out shows, it’s just a knee-jerk reaction to ticket sales that are based on a snapshot in time.

      Attendance rates are influenced just as much by marketing as programming, venue location, seat comfort, etc. In a way, it circles back to what Michael Kaiser is endorsing as a way to manage difficult times: quality programming marketed efficiently. I know several superb marketing directors who know how to sell shows, do it repeatedly, are mercilessly efficient at the process, and have good marketing performance ratios but even they have an attendance bomb when they don’t have the necessary resources to get the job done.

      I wish the solution were as simple as smaller=better but there are so many variables involved and alternative options to be explored before considering a brick and motor solution (and we aren’t even talking about the dynamic variables).

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