Is It Time To Bust Up The Season?

Joe Patti just keeps you thinking and his post from 10/8/2014 was no exception in that he considers the value in breaking season announcements up into two thresholds. For the orchestra field, it makes an increasingly strong case for groups that take three or more weeks off between events around the New Year and once you wrap your head around thinking of your traditional season broken up by a pair of season announcements, you begin to think differently about subscriptions too.

So have a little fun today before the weekend and imagine how much a positive change like this could bring.


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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3 thoughts on “Is It Time To Bust Up The Season?”

  1. I think the big issue here is cash flow. All orchestras have loyal subscribers, for whom we are very thankful, who are willing to pay upfront for the full season. We don’t want to lose that, So rather than break the whole season into two blocks, I think that, for all but the largest orchestras, it would make more sense to launch the full season in the traditional way, then have an additional effort at mid-season aimed at selling shorter packages for the remainder of the season. Most of us are already offering flex, choose your own, and all kinds of non-traditional subscriptions already. Ideally what you’d hope to get with an approach like this is additional marketing sizzle without compromising cash flow.

    • No argument there and at some point in time, it seems like a large element of the field is moving toward the reality that they will need to modify that cash flow structure or they will continuously cut off options like this which may produce a higher marketing performance within a season or two. Granted, that’s easier said than done but if there were ever a better need for a genuine Foundation grant…

  2. And all this also promotes the common sense to return to a calendar year of scheduling as opposed to anything split. A calendar year can incorporate any number of ‘breaks’ both long and short, whereas the academic year cannot, and multiple seasons within a year (which will be different for every ensemble) will just add confusion and alienate our audiences even more. I long to see a 2015 concert calendar, but at least hope we’ll be seeing them in 2016.

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