No promises

just a singer in a rock and roll band

A few folks now have linked to the fascinating piece by Jack Conte of the band Pomplamoose (the high-school French student in me smiles) on an accounting of the costs and revenues, to the dollar, of mounting a month-long tour. Spoiler alert: even with good crowds, they lost money (just under $12k). Their three revenue sources of ticket income (just shy of $100k), net revenues from merchandise (small) and a small sponsorship couldn't meet the costs of mounting the tour, with all the production and labor and contracting costs. The piece is not a … [Read more...]

Gender and price discrimination

it's going to cost you big time

Women pay more than men for some products. Why is this, and is this a situation where there oughtta be a law? Last week, Time reported that women consumers' advocates in France were pressing for a law that would prohibit price discrimination where men and women use virtually the same product (razors, deodorant) but men typically pay less.  Think Progress reports on complaints about gender-based price discrimination at Old Navy. And here is a longer report on the subject, from 2012, from Marie Claire. A few thoughts (with the caveat that … [Read more...]

Streaming – a view from the other side (updated)

looks nice to me

The New York Times has an 'Opinionator' series asking 'Is Streaming Good for Musicians?' It's a narrow question, since in any dispassionate analysis 'Is Streaming Good for People Who Listen to Music?' would also factor into the evaluation of this technology. That said, let me try to broaden the debate a little bit. As a thought experiment, imagine a very, very large musicians' co-op, one that was able to deliver songs digitally to listeners, without separate companies called 'record labels', without 'distributors', without 'Spotify' or … [Read more...]

Price discrimination and timing

this is going to cost you

Publishers delay the release of paperback versions of books as a means of price discrimination. 'Strong' customer markets pay the premium price for the immediately available hardcover, while 'weak' customer markets pay the lower price for the paperback, which is inferior in two ways: less sturdy binding, and you have to wait a year or so to obtain it. This earns more for the publisher than releasing all versions at one time. This strategy is only used where there is a premium attached to immediate access, such as the most popular fiction and … [Read more...]

Orchestras and cost disease

It's not lupus

At The Clyde Fitch Report Duncan Webb has an interesting piece that looks into the future, and he sees chronic cost disease: I first read Baumol and Bowen’s The Economic Dilemma of the Performing Arts some 20 years ago, almost 30 years after it was first published in 1965. The theory was fairly straightforward: the problem in our sector is that because there are no productivity gains associated with the creation of the work (it takes the same time and energy to rehearse and perform a Brahm’s Requiem today as it did when first performed in … [Read more...]

Arts, policy, and the election (updated)

what's the big deal?

Barry's Blog has a post on the consequences of the election, anticipating Republican gains in the House and likely control of the Senate, calling the post 'What Tomorrow's Election Means for the Nonprofit Arts.' Good question! He writes: On the federal level, if the Democrats maintain control of the Senate, this election probably won't mean much for us at all.  If, though, the Republicans capture the Senate, as is widely being predicted, then we are likely to once again face challenges to funding to the NEA and the NEH (and maybe PBS too), and … [Read more...]

What is dynamic pricing? A clarification (updated)

first-degree

'Dynamic pricing on websites: illegal or unfair?', asks Éloïse Gratton on her blog. But the post confuses various pricing strategies, not all of which are 'dynamic pricing'. Dynamic pricing, also known as “adaptive pricing”, “dynamic pricing” or “discriminatory pricing”  or first-degree price discrimination, is defined as a practice where organizations attempt to perfectly exploit the differences in price sensitivity between consumers. Dynamic pricing is an old practice that has been around forever: for example, if you go to a flea market, the … [Read more...]

Today in deaccessioning: casino edition

needs modernizing

Today's case is from Germany, as reported by Artnet: Triple Elvis (1963) and Four Marlons (1966) hold a combined estimated value of €100 million ($128 million) and are being sold by the Westspiel casino conglomerate ... [T]he casino chain Westspiel is in fact a subsidiary of the State Bank of North Rhine-Westphalia. This prompted German culture minister Monika Grütters of the center-right CDU party to accuse North Rhine-Westphalia's center-left-led regional government of selling the artworks in order consolidate state debts. She … [Read more...]

What do college students in the arts do after graduation? (updated)

What does my future hold?

They get to use what they have learned in college?: Among ... respondents employed at the time they completed the survey, 64% of recent grads and 69% of prior graduates were in jobs they described as either “very relevant” or “relevant” to their educational training. Or not?: The majority of arts graduates work in non-arts fields. Out of 2 million arts graduates nationally, only 10 percent, or 200,000 people, make their primary earnings as working artists. Let's try to sort out how and why the recent report from the Strategic National Arts … [Read more...]

Deaccessioning: A puzzle, and a speculative answer (updated)

so, why no deaccessioning?

Why is it considered unethical for nonprofit or public sector museums to sell art, except for cases when the proceeds will be directly used to acquire new art? At the Art Law Blog, Donn Zaretsky points out that if a private collector decided to open a space to display some art he owns to the public, but later decided to sell some of it, for whatever reason, it would be hard for anyone to object. But if the collection becomes a nonprofit museum... : One answer some might be tempted to give is that becoming a museum carries with it certain tax … [Read more...]