This Week: Business models and arts audiences… The rising impact of crowdfunding on the arts… Big Data can measure the wrong things, so be careful… Data show audiences are less affected by information overload than they were… What have we learned about translating live musical theatre to TV?
- The Arts, Business Models, And What Are The Arts For: The arts sector endlessly measures its success not just by the art it makes but by how well its business is doing – how many tickets sold, how many people watching, sharing, how much money raised. But an obsession with business models isn’t necessarily healthy. “For starters, a lot of us make the idea too hard: A business model is a vital concept determining the success of any organisation and not a complex formula relating to its profit-making mechanisms. A business model is just a story explaining who your audiences and customers are, what they value, and how you will be able to sustain the organisation in providing that value.”
- Is Crowdfunding the Democratization Of Arts Funding?: Speaking of business models for the arts, crowdfunding is becoming a larger part of the finances of some arts organizations. “In the US, Kickstarter famously helped raise more funds for the arts than the National Endowment for the Arts. In the UK crowdfunding for the arts has also grown rapidly, with models such as rewards-based crowdfunding – the model most popular with artists and creatives – facilitating £42m worth of donations in 2015, a growth of more than 60% from £26m in 2014.”
- In The Church Of Big Data, Numbers Are King. That’s A Problem: The datafication of everything is reductive. For a start, it leaves behind whatever can’t be quantified. And as Cathy O’Neil points out in her insightful and disturbing book Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, datafication often relies on proxies—stand-ins that can be enumerated—that bear little or no relation to the things they are supposed to represent: credit scores as a proxy for the likelihood of being a good employee, for example, or “big five” personality tests like the ones used by the Cambridge Psychometrics Centre, even though, as O’Neil reports, “research suggests that personality tests are poor predictors of job performance.”
- Information Overload? What’s That? Data Say Audiences Are Less Overwhelmed: “A new Pew Research Center survey finds that, for the most part, the large majority of Americans do not feel that information overload is a problem for them. Some 20% say they feel overloaded by information, a decline from the 27% figure from a decade ago, while 77% say they like having so much information at their fingertips. Two-thirds (67%) say that having more information at their disposals actually helps to simplify their lives.”
- Live Musicals On TV – What We’re Learning: Translating an art form from one medium to another is always fraught with challenges. Putting live theatre on TV has not historically been a success. But there have now been seven productions of Broadway musicals broadcast live on television. So what have we learned? Here are five lessons, including the perhaps obvious pop singers aren’t Broadway singers, and they don’t show up well next to talent like Audra McDonald and Kelli O’Hara (but! They bring viewers!).