How audiences can’t save the arts, or sports, or pop music, or…

George Cruikshank’s “A London Audience” (1836) which may be a ‘portrait’ of an audience during a lecture by Dr. Gall or Dr. Spurzheim

Since the 60s live audiences haven’t really sustained much of anything.  The economic infrastructure that creates ‘sustainability’ for Classical Music, the Sports Industry, and the Pop Music Industry since the post WWII economic boom in the US has had much more to do with the growth of all three of these fields.

Foundations and donors make up the difference for ticket sales (i.e. audience contribution) for Classical Music; Broadcast Licensing makes up the lion’s share of the even more dismal proportion of gate revenue (i.e. audience contribution) for the Sports Industry; and the Recording Industry has done more for propping up pop Superstars than live touring (i.e. ticket paying audience contribution) has given the huge difference between total revenue earned by the former as opposed to the latter.

Continue reading “How audiences can’t save the arts, or sports, or pop music, or…”

Sustainability of Richard Florida’s Creative Class and the “saviour demographic” again

Kat Von D with her tattoos covered by a temporary tattoo concealer by Sephora

I just read a piece by Frank Bures that outlines all the reasons that Richard Florida is just plain wrong about his ideas of the profitability that comes with creating a “Creative Class” heaven of a city.  I’d posted a couple of blogs about Portland in relation to Florida’s ideas in the past but neither of those mentioned the research that Bures’ piece brings up showing how wrong Florida’s idea are.

A few select quotes from the piece:

What was miss­ing, how­ever, was any actual proof that the pres­ence of artists, gays and les­bians or immi­grants was caus­ing eco­nomic growth, rather than eco­nomic growth caus­ing the pres­ence of artists, gays and les­bians or immi­grants. Some more recent work has tried to get to the bot­tom of these ques­tions, and the find­ings don’t bode well for Florida’s the­ory. In a four-year, $6 mil­lion study of thir­teen cities across Europe called “Accom­mo­dat­ing Cre­ative Knowl­edge,” that was pub­lished in 2011, researchers found one of Florida’s cen­tral ideas—the migra­tion of cre­ative work­ers to places that are tol­er­ant, open and diverse—was sim­ply not happening.

Continue reading “Sustainability of Richard Florida’s Creative Class and the “saviour demographic” again”

Arts revenue and the fallacy of the “savior demographic” (younger audiences)

How much public funding went into supporting the operating expense of this ball game?

I’m sifting through a number of studies and economic data regarding Sports finances in preparation for a case study comparing revenue contributions for sports and performing arts organizations and there are far too many interesting things to not mention, if not post a properly cited blog post on (that will come a bit later).

The received wisdom from the Chicken Little Think Tank (the “Classical Music is failing” camp) that with declining revenues from ticket sales (sometimes referred to as “performance income” or more erroneously, “earned income”) as a proportion of total revenue for classical music organizations and the [purportedly] declining audience (as well as the increasing median age of the audience) there’s this notion that the industry must get a bigger [and younger] audience to offset the performance income gap (the gap between performance revenue and operating costs).

The figures (depending on whom you ask and which studies you look at) show a steady decline from roughly 7o% or 90% of ticket revenue covering total expenses (back in 1937) to between 35% and 40% of ticket revenues covering expenses today (less for Opera and Ballet).  In other words, the performance income gap is increasing showing us that there are structural deficits built into what is practically a service industry which cannot have an increase in production to offset rising costs due to inflation.  This is known as the Baumol Cost Disease.

Continue reading “Arts revenue and the fallacy of the “savior demographic” (younger audiences)”