Courting millennials at the California Symphony

Posted on: February 23, 2017

“Everybody in the fine arts is asking the same question: How do you persuade millennials, accustomed as they are to the split-second convenience of hand-held on-demand entertainment, to get off their couches and see your shows?,” writes Terry Teachout in Tuesday’s (2/21) Wall Street Journal (subscription required). “Some of the shrewdest answers are coming from the California Symphony, which … invited [millennials and Gen-Xers] to attend the first concert of the season, paying just $5 to get in. Those who accepted the invitation visited the orchestra’s website, then wrote down their responses to the site and the concert. Afterward, they came to a pizza-and-beer party at which they ‘report[ed] back on their experience—the good, the bad, and the ugly.’ … What the California Symphony discovered, in short, was that ‘almost every single piece of negative feedback was about something other than the performance.’ Another important discovery was that it’s single-ticket buyers, not veteran subscribers, who are most likely to use the orchestra’s website.” The orchestra’s redesigned website “now contains a ‘Newcomer’s Guide’ that answers basic questions about concertgoing.… What is most striking about these changes is that you don’t have to be under 35 to appreciate them.”

Posted February 23, 2017