This Week: How free museum admission changes audience and behavior… Legislation to battle the ticket bots… Is YouTube making it tougher for live performers?… Detroit Symphony starts an amateur orchestra to get closer to its audience… Theatre for short attention spans.
- Study: How does free museum admission change audience? Of course making museums free changes who goes, but this study suggests that free admission doesn’t increase diversity. And it doesn’t decrease what people spend while at the museum or donations to the museum. It does, however – as you’d expect – lead to a decline in admission numbers. Charging admission also leads to longer visit times. Longer visits suggests that when museums are free, people might attend more on a whim and perhaps more often.
- US House passes bill to stop ticket bots: Audience and performers alike have been complaining about online bots programmed to buy up every ticket to popular shows within minutes of going on sale. The tickets are then resold on the secondary market at big markups. The practice puts oridinary ticket-buyers at a disadvantage and the shows themselves don’t profit from the inflated prices. “The Better Online Ticket Sales Act, or BOTS Act, would make it illegal to circumvent the security rules of an online ticketing Web site in order to buy tickets.”
- Is YouTube making it harder for live performers to wow audiences? Principal dancers at London’s Royal Ballet say that audiences have gotten used to amazing feats on video which are difficult to compete with on a live stage. Says one, Alexander Campbell, “I think there’s a video of a Chinese acrobat standing en pointe on someone’s head, and that’s incredible. So if you come and see someone en pointe on a massive floor, it doesn’t have that same excitement.”
- The Detroit Symphony Is Crushing It With Audiences: Since its painful strike six years ago, the Detroit Symphony has refocused on its community, going from one success to the next. This week two new initiatives: The orchestra announced it will start a new amateur orchestra affiliated with the professional orchestra. Why? Is there any better way to involve amateur musicians in the community and draw them closer to the orchestra? The orchestra got a donor to fund the initiative. The second initiative is less groundbreaking, but also significant. The orchestra follows the lead of orchestras like the San Francisco Symphony in branding a second performance space as a kind of versatile lab that broadens the orchestra’s musical ground. The music presented there won’t be just classical, but will include “jazz, hip-hop, contemporary classical music, chamber music, techno, world music, post-jazz concert ‘hangs,’ salsa dances, yoga with musical accompaniment and artist-curated events that take advantage of experts to reach deeper into artistic subcultures in metro Detroit.”
- Short-Attention-Span Theatre: It’s called micro-theatre, and it’s flourishing in Spain. The plays are short, and each play “costs only four euros ($4.50) and is repeated up to seven times a night, so spectators can dip in and out of the evening’s program. The format follows a basic idea of three 15s: plays of 15 minutes for around 15 audience members in a 15 square-meter (160 square-foot) space. In the original production, 13 independent theater groups put on 13 different shows, themed around prostitution, in the rooms of the former brothel where the sex workers used to receive their clients.”