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July 25, 2006

Lowering ticket prices

by Barbara Jepson

A few questions for Lowell and Doug concerning their latest posts: Lowell, re slashing ticket prices for the
SPCO's smaller series in suburban locations throughout the Twin Cities--what does it cost to present those
smaller series? How much of the cost is covered by those sold-out box-office receipts? And how were they
selling before the SPCO lowered the prices?

For Doug, re the community series you mention in Seattle: are these choral groups and chamber ensembles? Other? Community orchestras of the sort that were involved in the Ford Made in America program? And are they more popular because they're more affordable or because they have stronger ties to the community?

I'm interested in the above because I've always wondered how much larger the audiences for classical music
would be if tickets were free or significantly reduced in price. At Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera and at the New York Philharmonic, ticket prices keep getting higher and long-time subscribers to the Met and the Philharmonic tell me that each year, the number of operas or concerts in their series keeps going down and the prices keep
going up.

Certainly the much-mentioned 1.4 free downloads of the Beethoven symphonies offered by the BBC suggest potentially larger audiences are out there, as do the attendance figures for free classical concerts in Central Park each year in NYC. But when Town Hall introduced a free concert series here a year or two ago, not all of those concerts sold out. There's still the programming factor and the appeal of individual performers to reckon with.

Posted by bjepson at July 25, 2006 10:13 AM


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