The orchestra field isn’t one to benefit from microeconomics like other fields; case in point, vertical integration holds limited value for performing arts organization business models. At least, not until you drill down into hyper-niche sectors.
What is vertical integration? Let TV explain…
As Tina Fey’s character, Liz Lemon, realizes, there’s a dark side to vertical integration but what if we could take that same approach and turn it toward something fun?
While enjoying a wonderful dinner earlier this week with one of my fav composers, he mentioned he was writing something that required a Mahler Hammer and as a result, the group performing the piece had to construct said musical sledge-mallet.
“I didn’t realize there were precise specs for a Mahler Hammer,” I said. “I thought groups made them as needed based on their own personal taste.”
“There aren’t,” said the composer. “I mean, it isn’t like you can go online and find a kit or just order one from Amazon, there’s not really much demand.”
“So why not patent a design then start writing more pieces which call for that particular design of Mahler Hammer?” I replied.
Eureka! Classical Music meets the dark-ish side of vertical integration.
Granted, this is just a silly little example fueled by good food, better company, and alcohol but it did get me thinking about the bigger picture and perhaps it is time to re-examine if the there are some meaningful ways the nonprofit performing arts field could benefit from some form of vertical integration.
What do you think? At the very least, it should serve as good fodder for an Arts Admin thesis or two.