[Music] entrepreneurship will favor the very few and marginalize the vast majority

MusicMoney

The title of this post is from a recent piece by Andy Lee taking to task some things that Claire Chase (Artistic Director and CEO of the International Contemporary Ensemble) said at a convocation address at Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University. The full quote is actually in the comments section of the piece:

I think a slight clarification on (what I hoped to make) the thrust of my piece would be that I’m saying that entrepreneurship under current conditions will favor the very few and marginalize the vast majority. I’m not saying it isn’t a path to success, but I see it as the great hope that others seem to.

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When Ticket Revenue Doesn’t Equal Attendance: What’s Opera Doc?

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*THANKS TO AARON ANDERSEN FOR POINTING OUT A GLARING ERROR I MADE (see strikethrough texts below and my comment following Aaron’s)

I was reading a piece about the sharp decline of NASCAR ticket revenue and was intrigued. In NASCAR’s three publicly traded companies, all have seen a sharp decline over the years.

For example, at Daytona Beach, the International Speedway Corp.lost more than 40 percent of its ticket revenue, falling to $144 million” while the Charlotte Speedway Motorsports Inc.has lost more than a quarter of its admission revenue, falling to $130 million.” Dover Motorsports Inc. took the biggest hit “with admission revenue falling nearly 60 percent, to $13.6 million last year.

The piece gives various reasons for the decline in ticket revenue, and offers some solutions the different franchises are considering or actively doing, yet, this statement is interesting given what can amount to a loss of 57,000 (current capacity of Daytona Speedway is 147,000) butts in the seats:

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Vampire shows, Fragmentation & Oversupply, and the “Classical Music Crisis”

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While watching the second episode of Penny Dreadful, I was struck by a thought* — I just don’t have time to watch all these geek themed television shows! Penny Dreadful is just the latest of shows which features vampires.  The recently cancelled Dracula series, The Vampire Diaries and its spin-off, The Originals, and Being Human are series which center on stories of vampires. Like Penny Dreadful, the Lost Girl, Supernatural, and even Da Vinci’s Demons are set in worlds where vampires exist**.

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San Diego Opera, again…

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In my piece “Opera: ‘I’m Not Dead’” post, i mentioned a guest post at Bill Eddins Sticks and Drones guest blog by Viswa Subarraman, conductor and Artistic Director of the Skylight Music Theatre in Milwaukee and his thoughts about the San Diego Opera closing. This is just one several criticisms of the organizations decision to shut down (here’s another recent piece) amidst rumors which inevitably fly as organizations of this size come near an end.

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Orchestra 990 Database Project

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Orch990DB
I’d been meaning to blog about this especially given how often those of us who blog or talk about arts organizations and finances discuss economic issues in the field, but as a last minute reminder, Drew McManus’ has blogged about his kickstarter campaign for an Orchestra 990 Database.

As you can see from the post, here’s what the Database will include and feature:

  • Converting a decade’s worth of IRS Form 990s into a searchable format along with assigning category filters.
  • The database will begin with the 2003/04 season filings. The database will include all US based professional orchestras with total expenditures of $2 million and higher.
  • A website that will retain a searchable database of professional orchestra IRS Form 990s.
  • The user interface will provide multi taxonomy filtering to assist with narrowing results (think searching by state, zip, and other custom categories).
  • Users will be able to download copies of documents returned in the search query.
  • Searches and results will be free for all users, all the time. 
  • The website will be built atop an open source publishing platform and feature a responsive design, allowing users to easily interface via desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone without the hassle of downloading and installing platform specific apps.
  • An L3C will be formed as the entity under which all work and ongoing administration will be conducted (more on that below).

Drew was also recently interviewed and gave more info about the project on the video blog, SoundnotionTV, which can be viewed on youtube:

For a field which has tons of researchers, pundits, and bloggers making claims about the financial conditions of large arts organizations without the ease of access a project such as this would allow, it would really be nice to have some level of transparency and, more importantly, ease of access to the public and other independent scholars who don’t have significant resources for doing research.

Even if this kickstarter doesn’t fund the project this time around, I’d hope that the next time it get proposed we can see the value of it and get it funded and off the ground because we sorely need easy access to things like this to combat the hedgehog pundits on any side of debates about arts sustainability!