Death And Transfiguration

Two items of note to point out today; first up is an article by Matthew Klein in 1/12/2013 edition of The Economist which provides an overview of some of the fiscal hot spots in the field right now. Next up is an article by Zachary Lewis published in the 1/19/2013 edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer which examines the Cleveland Orchestra’s recent growth in ticket sales for children and students.

150x150_ITA_Guy146Lewis’ article is particularly interesting because it identifies a correlation between the orchestra’s attendance growth and a decrease in ticket prices, all of which reinforces what we’ve discussed here on numerous occasions: one of the greatest barriers to attendance is price.

Hopefully, Cleveland will be able to make the subsidized lower ticket prices a permanent fixture without suffering the sort of debilitating loss in earned income revenue that helped put the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra into its current labor dispute.

If they can do that while simultaneously increasing average ticket sales and improving overall earned income, then it will be among the first organizations in the business to quantifiably demonstrate the value and impact of subsidized ticket prices.

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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2 thoughts on “Death And Transfiguration”

  1. I just have to say that the things happening in Cleveland are incredibly exciting. Students and young kids are becoming a major demographic for that orchestra which is obviously helping to bring in money now, but it also creates a strong base for the future when those college students are 25 and 30 and are still going to the orchestra. And they will take their kids there too. At least for now, it’s a really positive and community-based sustaining cycle. I wish Cleveland management was my Minnesota Orchestra management.

  2. “Hopefully, Cleveland will be able to make the subsidized lower ticket prices a permanent fixture without suffering the sort of debilitating loss in earned income revenue that helped put the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra into its current labor dispute.”

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