If Only N.Y. Would Follow Baltimore's Example

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Ralph
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If Only N.Y. Would Follow Baltimore's Example

Post by Ralph » Wed Mar 07, 2007 9:27 am

From Playbillarts:

Baltimore Symphony's $25 Subscription Tickets Are a Big Hit

By Vivien Schweitzer
March 6, 2007

The $25 subscription seats that Baltimore Symphony officials announced for the 2007-08 season seem to be a hit already.

The Baltimore Sun reports that when the box office opened last Saturday morning (March 3), about 150 people were already in line at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, ready to snap up the tickets. Music director-designate Marin Alsop was on hand to give out doughnuts to the eager subscribers.

For the 2007-2008 season, new and current Baltimore Symphony subscribers pay only $25 per concert for seats anywhere in the house, including box seats that can sell for three times as much. Orchestra officials unveiled the discounted tickets as a way to boost attendance, cutting the average cost of classical and pops programs by 40 percent.

Charles Shubow, an administrative judge, told the Sun that he hadn't subscribed to the Symphony for years, but Alsop's appointment prompted his return.

Lawyer Brendan Hurson, 29, said, "I wouldn't be a subscriber if not for the deal. If you do the math, it's amazing."

Subscribers can purchase a minimum of three pre-selected shows for $75 or six of their own preference for $150. The six-concert series is a savings of nearly $100 over last year.

Paul Meecham, Baltimore Symphony president and chief executive, told the Sun that subscription renewals have increased, and those who have renewed so far have purchased close to 16 tickets each this year, up 25 percent from this time last year. Despite the decrease in price, subscription revenue is five times higher than this time last year.

According to the Sun, Meecham would not commit to offering the deal next year, however. The new pricing was made possible by a $1 million grant from the PNC Foundation, the charitable arm of Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group.

Alsop's programming next season offers Beethoven paired with works by living composers. Seventeen compositions will be receiving their first BSO performances.

Alsop told the Sun, "The combination of really exciting programs with a lot of variety and this new price initiative is perfect. It's great for people who have never been to the symphony. They can try it and don't feel like they've spent their life savings."
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Corlyss_D
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Re: If Only N.Y. Would Follow Baltimore's Example

Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Mar 07, 2007 12:54 pm

Ralph wrote:The Baltimore Sun reports that when the box office opened last Saturday morning (March 3), about 150 people were already in line at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, ready to snap up the tickets. Music director-designate Marin Alsop was on hand to give out doughnuts to the eager subscribers.
Wow! Practically Rock Concert stats!
Corlyss
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Gregg
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Post by Gregg » Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:22 am

It's not the NYP's style, it's so - New York City Opera....

On the other hand, a million dollar grant to lower ticket prices, I wonder how the math works...


In true NYP style, they raised the price of rehearsal tickets to $15.00.


Gregg

Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:06 am

Gregg wrote:It's not the NYP's style, it's so - New York City Opera....

On the other hand, a million dollar grant to lower ticket prices, I wonder how the math works...


In true NYP style, they raised the price of rehearsal tickets to $15.00.


Gregg
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And the NYP now charges $5 for their pre-concert lectures. :(
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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Mar 08, 2007 12:55 pm

Ralph wrote:And the NYP now charges $5 for their pre-concert lectures. :(
What! Were the people going to the lectures without going to the concert?
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Barry
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Post by Barry » Thu Mar 08, 2007 3:25 pm

I know I've mentioned the Philadelphia Orchestra's wonderful rush ticket program on here in the past.
For every subscription concert, the set aside something like 75-100 tickets, with many of them being very good seats, and sell them for $10 each two and a half hours before the concert. I usually get to the line about an hour and a half before the tickets go on sale; sometimes a little earlier if it's a concert with real big-name performers or a piece like Beethoven's 9th that pulls in a lot of people. That generally gets me at or near the front of the line, which gives me the opportunity to choose my seat location from among those that are available. But I'm anal in that respect :oops: , along with a few other regulars who I've gotten to know just from conversing while waiting. One can generally show up more like a half hour early and have no trouble getting a ticket.

I do love sitting next to people who paid something like eight times what I paid for their seat :) .
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Post by Werner » Thu Mar 08, 2007 5:40 pm

Well, you have an advantage in living pretty close to the hall. Not everyone can take advantage of such an opportunity.

One way or another, you seem pretty familiar with the goings-on of your orchestra. Howe many concerts do you manage to hear in the course of a season?
Werner Isler

Brendan

Post by Brendan » Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:12 pm

Different. As a subscriber to the orchestra here, I've had the same seat in the hall booked for a decade now (took us a few years to get good seats first).

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Post by jbuck919 » Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:50 pm

Brendan wrote:Different. As a subscriber to the orchestra here, I've had the same seat in the hall booked for a decade now (took us a few years to get good seats first).
That is also the way subscriptions are dealt with in major US halls.

My problem with subscriptions, and the way DoDDS was shoveling out the money while I was in Germany I could have afforded several, is the yawn factor. This is purely personal and I don't expect anyone else to share it, but I simply won't subscribe to any series that includes a large number of pieces that are of no interest to me, which eliminates practically every series ever invented. On the other hand I am unwilling or unable to do as Barry does and play the grown-up version of the impoverished student standing in line for last-minute tickets. This has rather limited my concert attendance, as I am the first to admit (I do better with chamber music).

But if you want to talk about Baltimore, there was my last concert at the Meyerhoff, which I wrote about here a long time ago, before I moved. Aside from the fact that the program was perfect, they also had the innovative idea to precede it with something resembling a cocktail hour in the lobby (largely non-alcoholic) in which various local jazz ensembles played. This was a summer series thing and I don't know if they continued it, but it was a fabulous idea.

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Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:54 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
Ralph wrote:And the NYP now charges $5 for their pre-concert lectures. :(
What! Were the people going to the lectures without going to the concert?
*****

Previously, lectures were in the hall and open only to ticket holders. Now they are held in a reception room and a separate ticket is required.

Visiting orchestras at Carnegie Hall often offer free lectures and the American Symphony Orchestra at Lincoln Center presents very interesting and detailed preconcert lectures in a beautiful setting above the Juilliard School.
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Barry
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Post by Barry » Fri Mar 09, 2007 10:37 am

Werner wrote:Well, you have an advantage in living pretty close to the hall. Not everyone can take advantage of such an opportunity.

One way or another, you seem pretty familiar with the goings-on of your orchestra. Howe many concerts do you manage to hear in the course of a season?
I probably go to about half of the Philadelphia Orchestra's subscription programs on average. That may go down slightly when Dutoit takes over for Eschenbach. I go to most of Esch's programs, but doubt I'll do that with Dutoit.

Yes, it does help that I live within walking distance of the hall. But some of the other regulars I've gotten to know over the last few years come into town from the burbs and make an afternoon and evening of it. They get their tickets around 5:30 or slightly later, then go have dinner at a restaurant near the hall and maybe even attend the pre-concert lecture.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

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Post by mickey » Fri Mar 09, 2007 3:55 pm

Barry Z wrote:I know I've mentioned the Philadelphia Orchestra's wonderful rush ticket program on here in the past.
For every subscription concert, the set aside something like 75-100 tickets, with many of them being very good seats, and sell them for $10 each two and a half hours before the concert. I usually get to the line about an hour and a half before the tickets go on sale; sometimes a little earlier if it's a concert with real big-name performers or a piece like Beethoven's 9th that pulls in a lot of people. That generally gets me at or near the front of the line, which gives me the opportunity to choose my seat location from among those that are available. But I'm anal in that respect :oops: , along with a few other regulars who I've gotten to know just from conversing while waiting. One can generally show up more like a half hour early and have no trouble getting a ticket.

I do love sitting next to people who paid something like eight times what I paid for their seat :) .
i am a law student in philly, so i take advantage of the student prices and get to go once a week and sit in the orchestra section for $6 (+ service fee) :) a true bargain!

the nice thing about the baltimore symphony's 25 dollar tickets is that it makes it easy for me to drive down to baltimore just for a performance and including gas/tolls it would be cheaper than tickets alone for a nyp performance
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Post by Haydnseek » Fri Mar 09, 2007 4:20 pm

What I want to know is "how did a businessman with an understanding of markets and pricing ever get into an arts organization?"
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Post by Gregg » Fri Mar 09, 2007 8:52 pm

Haydnseek wrote:What I want to know is "how did a businessman with an understanding of markets and pricing ever get into an arts organization?"

Speaking as someone who left the profit world to embrace the non-profit.

Any businessman who exhibits aesthetic feeling is some one to be embraced.

I have over 12,000 people a month using my site, yet I may have to pull the plug. I need individual investment, otherwise I well.. I'd need a shoulder to cry on....


Gregg

classicaldomain.com.

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Post by jbuck919 » Fri Mar 09, 2007 9:25 pm

Gregg wrote:
Haydnseek wrote:What I want to know is "how did a businessman with an understanding of markets and pricing ever get into an arts organization?"

Speaking as someone who left the profit world to embrace the non-profit.

Any businessman who exhibits aesthetic feeling is some one to be embraced.

I have over 12,000 people a month using my site, yet I may have to pull the plug. I need individual investment, otherwise I well.. I'd need a shoulder to cry on....


Gregg

classicaldomain.com.
I was going to rephrase Haydnseek's query into something like "how do the arts surivive without anyone with a proper business sense," but your situation seems to be more urgent. Go ahead, Gregg. We've got broad shoulders. I for one would like to hear your story.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Haydnseek
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Post by Haydnseek » Fri Mar 09, 2007 10:20 pm

jbuck919 wrote:I was going to rephrase Haydnseek's query into something like "how do the arts surivive without anyone with a proper business sense,"...
That was the point I was trying to make. Wal-Mart as well as the Mom-and-Pop store know they can make more profit in the long run with a price that is low (but not too low) and economists have figured out that if taxes are too high revenues decrease; why are orchestras the last to figure this sort of thing out?
"The law isn't justice. It's a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be." - Raymond Chandler

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Post by Corlyss_D » Sat Mar 10, 2007 5:37 am

Haydnseek wrote:why are orchestras the last to figure this sort of thing out?
They are not strictly market-based entities competing in the strictest sense of the word?
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Gregg
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Post by Gregg » Sun Mar 11, 2007 11:32 pm

jbuck919 wrote:I for one would like to hear your story.
Thank you for asking. But I'll spare everyone the details. I've spent the weekend re-tooling some funding applications and I am spent...

I think my site has a great potential, it's up to me to reach out for sources of funding. I have a great resource for the city, and it replaces a lot of print media coverage that has disappeared. I see the website as a hub for all classical music in the city. If funders agree with me, I want to make the writing on the site more professional, maybe even make a stab at reviving general-interest classical music writing. There is a lot more a site like this could do.

The main point of the site is to help the city’s medium and smaller organizations reach an audience, and to expose the huge potential audience to the full spectrum of the city’s classical music activities.

I’m just griping because I have not been able to take the time as the creator, main writer and designer to become the main fundraiser too.

So from my distance I see the music patron in a very good light. Unlike the visual art world, which gives collector/patrons huge malleable investment field, the patrons of classical music impress me as having a, sort of, more benign motive - or could the Philharmonic parties be that good?


I think what bugs me about the industry has been expressed many times before, I am convinced that the industry has drained itself not of exciting ideas – but of the ability to give music lovers reasons to care. They continue to think the old packaging slightly dressed up will attract new audiences. It has caused them to be content averse, and that is what I hope to address if the site lasts long enough for me to move it in to a more professional plain.


Anyway, back to budgets!


Gregg

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