Money Back Guarantee – Can You Take The Risk Out Of Paying To See Art?

Richard Cahan had an idea. If theatres were worried about programming risky work because audiences might not shell out money to see it, and audiences were balking when it came to taking a chance on something new, why not just eliminate the risk?Cahan's a part-time program officer with the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation in Chicago, so he came up with a plan: the foundation would back a money-back … [Read more...]

Terms Of Endearment – How Does An Orchestra Spell Success?

How do good ideas take hold? It's not enough to talk about them; the context in which you talk about them has to be right. How do producers pitch ideas for movies? They relate them to other movies that have already been successful. So Terminator meets Cheaper by the Dozen gets you to Kindergarten Cop (don't ask). Bilbao Guggenheim gets you to a whole new generation of museum buildings as art. … [Read more...]

Is Yelp Replacing Arts Journalists?

Craigslist stole in and took the classified ad business away from newspapers while they weren't looking. The same thing seems to be happening to A&E reviews and listings with Yelp. Newspapers have been doing a worse and worse job of reviewing local performances. And most newspaper listings are not very good.Yelp is a community built around reviews. Yelp users review everything, and as its user … [Read more...]

When The Mob Turns Angry, What's A Museum To Do?

A week ago New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz launched a bomb on his Facebook page: "The Museum of Modern Art practices a form of gender-based apartheid. Of the 383 works currently installed on the 4th and 5th floors of the permanent collection, only 19 are by women; that's 4%. There are 135 different artists installed on these floors; only nine of them are women; that's 6%. MoMA is telling … [Read more...]

Of Rocket Science And Making Money On Journalism

Further to yesterday's post on how newspapers ought to expand their definition of news to make money comes this post by Steve Outing, suggesting such a strategy:The way for newspapers to charge for content is not rocket science. They must create new types of high-value, probably niche, content, communities, and/or services that are unique enough that people will be willing to pay for them. That's … [Read more...]

Maybe It's Time To Think Bigger?

So journalism has to change. Everyone gets that. But most new models I see are really traditional journalism gussied up in new tools. Or, they reinvent in such a way that throws away some traditional journalistic values. Most conceptual re-imagining of journalism is still tied to the events-of-the-hour sort. What happened today. Traditional journalism has been good at this kind of reporting, not … [Read more...]

10 Ways to Think About Social Networking And The Arts (the zen of "free" as a strategy)

Power in numbers. There ought to be a simple formula to calculate it. Is it better to have a small devoted audience or a massive casual one? It depends on the scale of what you're trying to do. TV has power because it has the ability to attract millions of viewers. The New York Review of Books has power because though its audience is small, it is influential.The problem is when the scale of the … [Read more...]

A New ArtsJournal Blog

I'm very happy to announce the latest ArtsJournal blog, Creative Destruction, by orchestra conductor John Dodson. I met John last summer while I was working on a story for Symphony magazine on new ways of running orchestras. John is music director of the tiny Adrian Symphony in Adrian, Michigan, pop. 21,703. In the past seven years he's remade the orchestra with executive director Susan Hoffman … [Read more...]

The Politics Of Free – Why Giving "Stuff" Away Is An Interesting Business Model

Over at the top of the Studio 360 website on their segment about the state of arts journalism, there's a quote by me that says that the best business model right now is to give away as much "stuff" as you can. Okay, a bit inelegantly expressed, in the course of a long audio interview for the show. You can hear the full segment here: But the idea isn't new. And it's not mine. Cory Doctorow has … [Read more...]

If It Was Just About The Money We'd All Be Making Porn

A movie studio exec once told me that if it were true that Hollywood was only interested in making money, the studios would have long ago ditched what they were doing and made porn. Huge money in porn, apparently. Who knew? Much as it's easy to dismiss the moguls for chasing money, there is an aesthetic at work. And much as it's important to have an eye on the bottom line, to succeed over the long … [Read more...]