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P&L

Orchestras, First Step to Financial Health is Happy Audiences

Don't expect the drumbeat of financial trouble for orchestras to stop.Here are a couple quotes that I think are helpful in thinking about the long-term resolution of this. First, from the Chairman of the orchestra's board, "Despite the Brooklyn Philharmonic's tremendous artistic successes over the last couple of years, the orchestra continues to experience financial difficulties."If an organization's definition of artistic success diverges too much from the definition of its audience or the potential audience that it needs, those...

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News

Broadway Shows Add Thursday Matinees to Meet Audience Needs

If you're going to have a matinee during the week, Thursday certainly seems like a better choice than Wednesday. I don't have any actual information to back this up, but I'm guessing that the Wednesday matinee tradition was established for a good reason. It just might be that no one remembers what that reason was. Or maybe they do. I should ask Ken Davenport.Thursday has really come up in the world. Formerly just another roadblock to the weekend, Thursday...

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Experience

Orchestras Will Survive and Thrive By Putting Audiences First

Orchestras and classic rock have something in common: As we currently know them, their best days have passed. This just came up recently, but the topic has resurfaced in the form of the question, "Are there too many orchestras?"To which I once again say, wrong question. Here's a tidbit from the article that's worth noting:"Unlike Europe, where classical music is considered almost a ward of the state, North American musical life has always depended in large part on private...

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News

New Musical Tells Story of Jesus Through Britney Spears Songs. Good Idea!?

It's the story of Jesus told entirely through the unchanged lyrics of Britney Spears songs.This will attract an audience, and here's why: I can explain it to you in the 15 words I used in the previous sentence, and it gives a lot of people something they can anchor their decision on. For some, it will be Britney Spears; for others, the story of Christ; and for a still large group, both.Familiar mixed with unfamiliar in potentially interesting ways...

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News

Priority No. 1 Should Be Developing Audiences

Milwaukee Symphony in crisis -- again.Greg Sandow, call your office.I hate to be harsh, but the orchestral world must obsess about delighting and developing audiences as much as it obsesses about saving orchestras. Audience first.

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Experience

Is Less More in Opera?

I found this article intriguing (and, Lynn Binstock, I would love to give you a forum to talk about this more here on Selling Out), but I’m not sold on the basic premise.Of course, a show (like a company) can have so many resources that it wastes them, or even allow a surplus of resources to blind them, but it doesn’t follow that removing resources makes something more appealing. In the article, Lynn says that her stripped-down and open-hearted...

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Bright Ideas

Hubbard Street Dance Takes It to the Streets to Grow

I love this article. This is a dance company whose sense of mission makes them realize that they must reach more people, which means they must, ultimately, be audience-oriented.Jason Palmquist, the organization's Executive Director, reflects on a tagline from the late '90s for the organization (before his time there). The tagline said: "3 weeks only. You'll need the other 49 to catch your breath." Jason rejects that thinking, saying, "You'll have the other 49 weeks to forget about us...

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News

Grow Your Attendance With an Audience Orientation

It feels like you could just cut and paste this story from year to year, doesn’t it? But, if you’re in our business, even if you’re not in the arts, this should concern you. If you’re here, it’s because you want to sell out your venue, and if you don’t really care about that because your nonprofit feels that worrying about selling tickets is too crass for words, then how about this notion?If you were selling out, these numbers...

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Experience

“Natasha” Drops Meals After Surveying Audiences

I saw this show when it included dinner and was in the Meatpacking District.  Now that it’s moving to Midtown and dropping dinner, it’s less of an immersive experience, but I still think you should go if you can. Here’s the part I thought was most interesting about the article:“Our audience surveys and phone surveys showed that people didn’t really value the meals, and at each ticket price level, people said they would’ve still bought tickets without the meals,”...

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