Since we’re on a roll this week with the idea of Moneyballing the orchestra sector, it’s worth pointing out that there’s no shortage of examples where attempts to apply data driven analysis to conventional wisdom decision making can end in tears.
For example: using historic repertoire sales data for future artistic planning.
Now, one area I would love to see some artistic planning data mining is the revenue performance for pops programming. You can dig up all the positive reviews around but in the end, was the program a big positive revenue winner?
Having the ability to consider everything from marketing spend to music and equipment rental to artist fees would be genuinely useful. To that end, one thing I routinely look at when reviewing pops program promotional material is if they list any sort of social media pull and/or marketing support they bring to the table. When legit, it serves as a serious marketing force multiplier.
At the same time, I know many of those groups don’t enjoy the luxury of having access to sales data from the organizations so their ability to quantify their impact is hindered. Nonetheless, this is exactly the sort of thing the League, or a Foundation, could invest some resources to properly track.
And imagine how much easier that could make artistic planning decisions. Imagine getting rid of 90% of the subjective conventional wisdom noise and boil it down to reliable data.
Arts Admin #1: “Why did you hire that pops act?”
Arts Admin #2: “They get on base.”