Don’t Play That Funky Muzak

You hear it everywhere -- the grocery store, subway stations, the doctor's office -- smooth jazz or classical music, derisively referred to as "muzak." You probably just tune it out most of the time, but apparently there's a very real reason it's playing, at least in certain places.Some experts believe playing classical music not only creates a soothing ambiance, but also drives away vagrants and vandals. A recent story on WQXR shed some light on the practice, and writes...

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Selling Out With

Selling Out With Jack Reuler

Is "free cheaper than cheap"? For Mixed Blood Theatre in the Twin Cities, it seems to be. Its admission initiative called "Radical Hospitality" allows anyone to attend a show for free. Three seasons of the campaign is paying off with increased popularity and donations.After hearing about the program on, we spoke with Mixed Blood Theatre artistic director Jack Reuler. He shared further insights into what aspects of the program are working, what they're continuing to tweak and what...

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How to Avoid Big Mistakes With Ticket Sales Marketing

Lately, we’ve been talking a lot about ticket sales marketing and the importance of knowing when to kill a program that's just not working. To help you evaluate whether a marketing program is successful -- or if it needs cancelling -- we've put together four posts that'll walk you through the process. Take a look:• First, a reality check: If a marketing campaign is working, then you should be able to see the results pretty clearly.• But, how do...

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Saying Sooth

Saying Sooth: College Athletics

This is an installment in a very occasional series called Saying Sooth, wherein we make a prediction about future events based on something that is happening, probably happening or appears to be happening. Please bear in mind that predicting the future is extremely easy, as long as you don’t care whether you turn out to be right or not.In 10 years, college athletics will be very different and mostly much better. It will certainly be more honest. Here’s what...

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Customer Service

When Bad Reviews Turn Into a Win

No one ever wants bad reviews, but in the live entertainment industry there's always the possibility that an audience won't respond to your show the way you would like. And then, what do you do? Ignore the comments, or use them to build a better event?A great example of doing the latter is haunted house/immersive experience The Purge: Fear the Night from Blumhouse Productions, makers of horror films Paranormal Activity and Insidious. The initial idea was a free-roaming house...

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Don’t Say “Guest” When You Don’t Mean Guest

For some reason, businesspeople tend to drift toward gibberish in their speech. (And you’re all businesspeople, by the way, even those of you who believe that “businesses” do something different from what nonprofits do.)In the search for something interesting, different and effective to say, people try a lot of things. Many of those things are nonsensical. Some of the nonsensical things sound good, and sometimes when they sound good people start copying that nice-sounding bit of nonsense. Eventually, people...

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In Case You Missed It

Each week we’ll share a collection of articles we think are well worth reading. And now, in case you missed them …• The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra successfully completed its $5 million emergency fundraising drive. Find out the breakdown of how they got it and their next steps for fiscal health.• The Canadian Museum of History, formerly the Museum of Civilization and Canada’s largest, most-visited museum, is launching a fundraising campaign, but it has set the bar very low for...

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Bright Ideas

Are Musicals a Gateway Drug for Opera?

David Belcher at The New York Times recently reported on the trend of opera houses performing American musicals in addition to traditional opera.Not only is it a way to add additional options to a company's repertoire, but it could be the "gateway drug" that brings in a new audience and gets them hooked on opera.It seems fair to say that an opera company will put a unique spin on Oklahoma! or The Sound of Music and that could be...

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March Madness Ticket Prices Going Through the Roof

Long wait for a regional final + hot local team = most expensive single-admission college basketball event MSG has ever hosted.Here's the news from SeatGeek:"It's been over 50 years since Madison Square Garden hosted NCAA Basketball Tournament games, and getting the local underdog in the bracket has only furthered the frenzy. Friday's doubleheader is the most expensive single-admission college basketball event MSG has ever hosted.Tickets for UVa-Michigan State and UConn-Iowa State are going for $355 each on average, coming...

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“Deliberate Change”

The other day, I mentioned my encounter with Bob Farrell and it prompted me to read up a little bit on the mostly tragic history of Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlours.Somebody, perhaps not a totally unbiased somebody, put a lot of effort to catalog the ups and downs of the organization, and it’s interesting reading, because it shows a fast rise, powered by a passionate concept, with adoring customers and a lot of unique qualities. But it also catalogs the...

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