More On The Dynamic Costs Of Doing Business In The Immediate Post-Pandemic Environment

The 5/1/21 edition of The Washington Post published an article by David Lynch and Yeganeh Torbati that examines the spike in costs for rental cars due to those companies’ decisions to slash the size of fleets to save costs over the pandemic.

Nutshell: those cuts combined with the amount of time it takes to restock means substantially higher prices and shortages for the 2021 Spring and Summer seasons.

For most year-round orchestras, this won’t be a showstopper expense but for groups like summer festivals and orchestras with summer residencies, it’s a different story. For example, in a city with a long running summer music festival, the cost of a one-week rental is nearly three times what musicians are paid in travel stipends and wages.

This is just one of several dynamic costs that organizations can expect to encounter when calculating expenditures. For groups that absorb these costs directly, the impact will be immediate and impossible to ignore; for those offloading these costs to artists and musicians, turning a blind eye is an exercise in risk management.

While I have yet to see a summer orchestra program fail to include disclaimer language about pandemic-based cancelations, it will be interesting to see if these dynamic costs become a tipping point for reduced or cancelled activity.

If nothing, else, these pressures are likely limited to the 2021 season, but I do hope there are plans among service organizations and unions alike to track these issues and report on their impact into strategic decision making.

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.

Related Posts