Quincy Symphony’s new free-ticket business model

Posted on: December 10, 2010

In Friday’s (12/10) Patriot-Ledger (Quincy, Massachusetts), Jon Chesto writes, “The musicians in the Quincy Symphony Orchestra noticed that they weren’t always playing to a full auditorium. So they decided to start giving away tickets to their concerts for free. The orchestra switched to this new model last month, with the first show in its 2010-2011 season on Nov. 7 … People who pay for season tickets can still get priority seating. Annie Wright, a clarinetist who is also president of the QSO, said the musicians wanted to figure out a way to expand the orchestra’s base of fans after noticing too many empty seats in the auditorium. Tickets are being given away for free, but visitors are encouraged to donate money. … More than 90 percent of the orchestra’s musicians are unpaid, but the organization does pay its conductor and some professional musicians … It’s too early to tell how effective the switch has been, Wright said. She said only about $1,000 in donations were given to the orchestra at last month’s performance, when there was a suggested donation of $10. … But Wright said that ticket sales historically have never covered all the orchestra’s costs, and she remains hopeful that the new model will work based on the attendance at last month’s performance.”

Posted December 10, 2010