Attendance on the rise at Milwaukee Symphony

Posted on: August 11, 2010

In Sunday’s (8/8) Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins writes, “Last season, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra learned that not only could new music director Edo de Waart coax mellifluous music from the players, he also could put people in the seats. Total symphony attendance in 2009-’10 was up 3%, despite a season with four fewer concerts than the previous year. During the past season, 115,859 people attended 76 concerts; in 2008-’09, 111,650 attended 80 concerts. In the increasingly important single-ticket department, the orchestra enjoyed a 23% increase in classics tickets sold and a 24% jump in pops tickets sold.” The orchestra is also working to increase attendance in other ways. “In 2007, marketing directors from the MSO and eight other orchestras began studying their audience ‘churn’: people who buy tickets but then never come back. The MSO learned that almost 40% of its customers annually were first-timers, but more than 81% of them did not return. … The MSO looked at the program the first-timer attended, such as a Beethoven-centric performance, and came back with a ‘killer offer’ to a specific comparable concert with a 50% discount. … Something must have worked. ‘Implementing the ‘killer offer’ decreased churn by as much as 49%,’ [Vice President of Marketing and Communications Susan] Loris said.”

Posted August 11, 2010