Celebrating A Decade Of Meaningful Culture Blogging

2003 was an eventful year; the Department of Homeland Security officially began operations, Gulf War II started, Google launches AdSense, the Mozilla Foundation is formed, MySpace is launched, the Space Shuttle Columbia is destroyed on re-entry, the Concord makes its final commercial flight, Arnold Schwarzenegger is elected Governor of California, Former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy becomes the first person indicted under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (he was eventually acquitted), and Adaptistration launched into the burgeoning field of culture blogging.

Champagne 167Thanks to you, a global readership, Adaptistration has opened up a window into the world of orchestra management in a way that never before existed. At the time, it didn’t seem like much of a big deal; the assumption was it would be read by a few orchestra managers a day and anyone else would be less than interested in this sort of shop talk.

As it turned out, that couldn’t have been further from reality and readers from not only administrators but audience and musician stakeholders poured into the blog at steadily increasing ratios until readership reached a steady one-third division between all three groups.

Not long after the 2003 launch, the blog stumbled innocently into what would arguably become one of the most valuable contributions to the field: labor dispute coverage. Readership spiked with each conflict but the resulting plateau would always be higher than before; meaning, readers found ongoing value in learning about the internal workings of professional orchestras. And if there was ever a silver lining to be grateful for, that one certainly qualifies.

Over the remaining decade, Adaptistration has made profound and lasting positive impact on improving orchestra websites, opening up compensation transparency, understanding labor relations (sometimes in spite of rhetoric), and a host of additional topics.

Readers have been inspired to action and bring about positive change within their classical music community; and of all the dynamic ways this blog intersects the field, that is perhaps the most gratifying. It is a genuine privilege to be in a central position to watch and influence so many classical music supporters toward becoming more meaningful stakeholders, each in his/her own unique way.

Ultimately, I’d like to think that the past decade was nothing more than warming up and to help keep the momentum going, I’d like to invite everyone to celebrate this milestone by sharing your favorite Adaptistration memory from the past decade! I’d love to hear about it in a comment or at Twitter using #10YearsOfAdaptistration.

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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