Are You Thinking About Ticket Fees?

I just want to kick off this topic by posting a Tweet thread from the always sharp Lisa Hirsch, better known to some as the author of The Iron Tongue Of Midnight. Lisa has routinely tracked how organizations assign and deal with fees so it comes as no surprise to see she’s approaching this subject from a post-pandemic ticket buyer perspective.

Hirsch went on to write a bit about it at her blog.

“I’ve been to two live events in 2021, and as I started to get a ticket to a third, I was reminded of a….benefit (?)…of not having bought any tickets in the last year-plus: I spent just about no time in a state of annoyance at terrible organization web sites, ridiculous ticketing policies, and outrageous fees.”


“I would really like every organization to reconsider their fees and the potential impact of these fees on ticket sales and good will.”

I’m still letting this percolate because there are a lot of thoughts going into it. In the meantime, I’m curious to know how many groups took the time to examine their existing ticket fee policy before putting tickets back on sale.

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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