Monday, August 2, 2010

Monday linkage: the music biz, Michael Kaiser, Donald Rosenberg

"Cyrano" at Wellfleet
Arts Dispatch took a thoroughly undeserved weekend off, venturing up into the Cascades and the curious, disappearing Fish Lake. We were thus cut off from weekend events of all sorts. But this morning, we were on the hunt for curiosities and oddments in the cultural news flow. We found some.

I'm no expert on the music business (help, Dave Allen!), but I thought the new economic model for pop music bands involved replacing CD/download income with money from touring. The New York Times suggests that might not be so easy, as summer receipts nationally have been down 17 percent. If anyone knows how the local biz has been doing (either bands touring or receipts in Portland), I'd love to know.

Michael Kaiser's name is coming up everywhere, since the Kennedy Center chief toured the nation earlier this year advising companies to increase both their marketing budgets and their artistic ambitions. Arts Dispatch has even invoked his name recently, yes?  Well, so did the Boston Globe's Laura Collins-Hughes in her story on the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater on Cape Cod.  After years of adventurous programming in a 99-seat house, the company built a new 200-seater to expand its reach three years ago.  The new financial stress of that building plus the sour economy in general has led to a fracturing of the board, staff cuts, doubt about that adventurous programming and yes, cuts in the marketing budget, which, naturally enough, led to a drop in attendance. That's where Kaiser's name came up.

The story isn't quite detailed enough to serve as a case study, but Collins-Hughes does raise enough questions to make us wonder about the advisability of building that second theater, most notably that the company didn't know how it would use the building profitably when the theater's four-month season wasn't going on.

It's more than a little ironic that we must depend on the newspaper that music critic Donald Rosenberg is suing to get information about his case, but there you have it. Just the facts, ma'am. The latest twist in his suit, per the Cleveland Plain Dealer, has the judge throwing out one of Rosenberg's claims, but keeping the rest of the suit intact.  (Remember, Rosenberg was removed from his post as music critic after he consistently gave bad reviews to the Cleveland symphony's new conductor and the symphonyh board complained. Rosenberg sued both the board and his newspaper.)


Meredith/ART DEPARTMENT said...

Great question!
You may want to talk to Cravedog/CDForge about how the "industry" is faring with product these days vs/ touring revenue. I used to consult for them and they are such a great family -- and doing a really good job of diversifying and shifting focus to evolve with their target audience. As we all know, the CD just isn't "it" anymore...

Barry Johnson said...

Thanks for the tip, Meredith.