Oil Prices Are Going Up And You Know What That Means

The turmoil in the Middle East has had a strong impact on the price of oil and as a result, gas prices are starting to spike. What this means for the field is a new round of increased difficulties with attracting worthwhile per service and substitute musicians…

The Gig After Gas Online Calculator reloaded

Although gas prices have decidedly more impact on per service and gig orchestras that rely on importing a number of musicians from remote locations, larger budget groups looking for short term savings in reduced substitute pa and asking musicians to shoulder increased travel costs for run out activity will have to begin considering a wider dynamic impact.

During the gas price spikes in 2008, I designed the Gig After Gas Online Calculator and ever since, it has been a steady hit with readers. In a companion article from that same time, we examined how musicians and managers can use the calculator to determine the value/competitiveness of any particular job offer or pair of offers. The article included a trio of in-depth examples that are as useful now as they were then.

But times change and after two years of useful feedback, the Gig After Gas Online Calculator was ready for some updates so I’m pleased to introduce the reloaded version for 2011.

The latest version contains all of the useful features and functionality from the previous calculator as well as a larger workspace and several user defined revenue and expense fields that can be added to the original calculations. The latter are especially useful in that they offer a way for users to include items such as travel pay, cartage, lodging expenses, meals, and other per diem items.

So head on over to the Gig After Gas Online Calculator reloaded page and give the revised calculator a spin!

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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0 thoughts on “Oil Prices Are Going Up And You Know What That Means”

  1. Sweet Buddha, I remember the 2008 spike vividly if only because I touring around the country at the time. I still wonder if the fact I have a diesel (and therefore better gas mileage) offset the even heftier price for diesel fuel. I know it was nearly $200 in gas driving to and from the tour bus–if we hadn’t been carpooling to the pickup point I might have considered flying all the time (which just meant I would have to always spend extra to get a ticket for the cello).

    Ugh–I’m kind of glad I’m gigging more locally now.

    • That’s what Jason Heath concluded in his article that spawned the idea back in 2008. It’s what will also make it difficult for regional and gig orchestras to attract a consistent pool of quality musicians. Shrinking travel and cuts to substitute pay are only going to make it tougher. If any of these groups retain a music director that demands a certain level of substitute or per service musician but the spike in gas prices are causing those players to turn down the gig for local jobs ultimately pay more, then that adds another pressure point to the equation that boards and managers will have to address.

  2. Very good and important point–downsizing Orchestras doesn’t become a viable option when travel expenses are far too high to make to make it worth the time for temps on a per service basis.

    And obviously this ties in enormously with the touring issue you mentioned in another post as well! While the residency idea worked well enough for Cleveland and the NSO, how much longer is that kind of outreach going to be sustainable?

    Which begs the question in my mind, this might be an excellent way for these organizations to tap into local talent not normally considered a part of the music making environments of Orchestras. I know that the chamber orchestra Orchestra Projekt in Indianapolis would team up with local non-classical musical acts and visual artists for events on occasion in addition to their often advernturous programming and much more laid back concert environments.

    Whether something like this could work with larger groups is the big question, but didn’t the Country singer, Amy Grant, do a series of benefits with the Nashville Symphony to help get them out of debt? And has that active collaboration continued even now that organization is doing much better?

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