British orchestras report an increase in attendees – a 16 percent increase no less – over an earlier three-year period:
A survey by the Association of British Orchestras (ABO) has found attendances at concerts and performances between 2012 and 2013 were up 16 per cent on those three years earlier. More than 4.5 million people a year now see orchestras play live in the UK.
But earned income is down substantially:
..news of growth in attendance has not translated into huge returns at the box office, as income from ticket sales and contract hires has fallen 11 per cent over the same period, according to the survey. And added to this a 14 per cent decline, in real terms, in public funding.
Add the numbers and you have more people attending orchestra concerts at significantly cheaper prices. And presumably, one might suppose that the audience for orchestras has increased even more because of digital access. So more people, less money. That sounds like the situation for pretty much any creative industry these days as they grapple with changes in audience behavior brought about by the internet.
The question is, given the subsidy model that orchestras operate in: what is the tolerable rate of subsidy? Fifty percent? 60? 90? Whatever it is, it’s not keeping up with covering costs – even with an increase in audience – paying lower prices. This isn’t just happening for orchestras or the arts. Pop musicians are having to change the subsidy model for their work too.