Just 90 miles apart, Allentown and York, Pennsylvania complement
more than compete. To build their subscription bases, CRStager
marketing provided a set of recommendations specific to each. And
each superbly executed our advice on pricing, packaging, messaging,
timing and telemarketing. I am delighted to report that by May,
2019/20 subscription results for both orchestras had eclipsed the final
2018/19 subscription levels achieved in January. Congratulations to
Al Jacobsen in Allentown and Michael Reichman in York. Stellar
success from "A" (Allentown) to nearly "Z" (York!)
For the past seven seasons, CRStager marketing has had the great
pleasure of collaborating with David Beauchesne and his team at the
Rhode Island Philharmonic. Over this time single tickets have
increased 111% with the just concluded 2018-19 season posting the
highest single ticket sales in the organization's recent history,
particularly gratifying in this interim year between conductors. These
many single ticket leads will help propel subscription sales for
Bramwell Tovey's inaugural 2019-20 season. During our time
with the Orchestra, single ticket sales have doubled. So has the
patron database. Capacity utilization has grown 18%, with
subscriptions up 29% in their best year. The Philharmonic's
community Music School grew enrollments by 29% through data
modeling in collaboration with Elliott Marketing Group. It is a
great pleasure to continue our work with the Rhode Island
Philharmonic & Music School.
CRStager is delighted to announce four new working relationships.
We are honored to be working with the Toronto Symphony, the
Oakland Symphony, the San Luis Obispo Symphony, and the South
Dakota Symphony. It is always exciting to be collaborating with
organizations eager to grow their audiences!
When the Albany Symphony was experiencing annual declines for its
Christmas concerts, CRStager marketing recommended changes to
the performance schedule and adjustments to marketing timing.
We are delighted to congratulate the Albany Symphony for four
straight year over year sales records for "The Magic of
Christmas" - 71% growth since 2010!
The Indianapolis Business Journal and national publications report:
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra experienced its fifth straight year of
record ticket sales during the 2016-17 season. Earned revenue rose to
$11.8 million, up from $9.6 million the previous year, thanks mostly
21% increase in ticket revenue: to $10.7 million, compared with
$8.7 million the year before." CRStager marketing has had the
pleasure of strategizing these consecutive years of revenue growth
for the ISO.
Congratulations to Mical Hutson and the team at the Portland
Symphony in Maine. The 2017-18 season has posted its third year of
subscription growth, and an all-time record this season for
subscription revenue. This year's growth was fueled by record
single ticket revenue in 2016-17, converting that large base of single
ticket buyers into subscribers. Further, this year's annual Magic
of Christmas performances are headed for record sales. It continues
to be a great pleasure for CRStager marketing to work with the
CRStager marketing has had the pleasure of working with Gary
Gintsling throughout his four years as President of the Indianapolis
Symphony. In announcing Gary's departure to the National
Symphony at the Kennedy Center, the Indianapolis Star reports:
"The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra posted record income
from ticket sales for the 2015-16 season, with $8.49 million in ticket
sales representing a 15% increase over fiscal year 2015. Ticket
sales during Ginstling's tenure, an era when overall earned income
"Orchestra Kentucky had a record-breaking year," the
Bowling Green Daily News reported recently. "Our original goal
was $478,000," newly arrived Executive Director Scott Watkins
said. "We believe it will surpass the $506,000 mark. It's
really neat to see that happen." The article continues:
"The growth was because of CRStager marketing & audience
development, a firm that has worked with many top orchestras in the
U.S." It has been our great pleasure to work with Music Director
Jeff Reed and the new creative leadership of Orchestra Kentucky.
In an article in the Amarillo Globe-News, Amarillo Symphony Executive
Corey Cowert shares that their audiences have grown 25%. "The fact
that that's happening in the panhandle of Texas -
what most of the country might not consider a sophisticated arts
audience, which is completely not true. Whether it's New York,
Amarillo, Los Angeles or Lubbock orchestras, there is a demand.
People enjoy what we do. " CRStager marketing is pleased to be
working with the Amarillo Symphony, and is delighted with the success
they are enjoying.
January 31, 2017 was Philip Glass' 80th birthday. The Bruckner
Orchestra of Linz and Dennis Russell Davies celebrated with a concert
at Carnegie Hall featuring the world premiere of his 11th Symphony. It
met with a standing ovation by the capacity crowd. The concert
featured two other works of Glass and featured the breathtaking voice
of Angelique Kidjo. CRStager marketing was engaged to market the
CRStager marketing has had the pleasure of working with the Albany
Symphony in strategizing subscription and single ticket for the past
three seasons. At the press conference to launch the 2017-18
season, Albany Symphony Board Chair Marisa Eisemann commented
"In the Capital Region we've broken our subscription records for
a third year in a row, and that's bucking the national trend of
orchestras and other arts organizations."
In December, the Amarillo Symphony surpassed sales expectations for
its first holiday concert. Indianapolis Symphony's "Yuletide
Celebration" posted record revenues. The Milwaukee Symphony
increased its holiday revenue by 7% over the previous year. Orchestra
Kentucky also enjoyed record sales for its annual Holiday Pops. The
Pittsburgh Symphony sold a record 11,570 single tickets for its seven
Holiday Pops performances. CRStager marketing is proud to be
working with these organizations.
On Thursday, January 17, I will be visiting the San Francisco
Conservatory to present the basics of orchestra marketing to students
as part of the Conservatory's week-long "Music Management for
Musicians" seminar. Peter Pastreich and David Gockley, great
colleagues and mentors, are the Senior Faculty. It is an honor to be
asked and hope that I may influence this next generation of fine
In a December 4 interview in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh
Symphony Orchestra CEO Melia Tourangeau reports "The strategies
we put in place saw a huge amount of return of audience, " she said.
"When Christopher Stager came on board (as marketing consultant)
when I first started, he said give me until Christmas. From the holiday
pops to the rest of the season we saw a huge attendance uptick. "
Although the symphony previously reported an increase in ticket sales
for 2015-16, exceeding revenue goals for the first time in five
years, it's only now revealed that ticket sales rose to 57 percent for
classical and 69 percent for pops concerts. Since there were seven
fewer classical concerts last season, the percentage is based on a
smaller number of seats for sale.
The steps taken to increase attendance made maximum use of a
database of 140,000 people who have come to the symphony over the
past 10 years.
CRStager marketing has been working with the INDIANAPOLIS
SYMPHONY since 2013. The Indianapolis Star reports this week that
the "Orchestra posted record income last season from ticket sales,
according to figures released Monday. The $8.49 million in ticket sales
is a 15% increase over fiscal year 2015 and the fourth consecutive
increase since fiscal year 2013."
CRStager marketing is working with the Pittsburgh Symphony to
rebuild its audiences following a musicians' strike that cancelled
two months of performances. "The Music Has Returned"
concerts on December 2 and 4 were filled to capacity and free to the
public. CRStager has rebuilt audiences after similar performance
interruptions in Detroit, Indianapolis, Louisville and Sacramento.
Corey Cowart, Executive Director of the Amarillo Symphony, engaged
CRStager marketing in the summer of 2015 to review the
Orchestra's marketing effort, subsequently retaining us to help
implement our recommendations. Working closely with the Amarillo
Symphony team, we are pleased to report a 59% increase in tickets
sold, an 83% increase in single ticket revenue, and a jump of $3.32 in
the average ticket price. The Amarillo Symphony serves some 35,000
square miles in the northern Texas panhandle. It is a remarkable
organization and we are delighted to work with them.
Single ticket sales for the Pittsburgh Symphony's BNY Mellon
Grand Classics series have grown 8% over the same point in the 14-
15 season, with a 23% jump in PNC Pops sales over the same
comparative period. Additionally, Highmark Holiday Pops concerts,
part of the Pops season, posted record revenue - some 10%
higher than the previous best experience. Beginning with an
assessment of the Orchestra's sales and its marketing effort,
CRStager developed and implemented a new marketing plan specific
to the Pittsburgh market, leveraging an aggressive mix of direct mail,
radio, print and online advertising. The sales turnaround has been
achieved through the work of the Orchestra's exceptionally
skilled marketing team and dynamic, new senior leadership.
The Indianapolis Business Journal reports on the Indianapolis
Symphony's third consecutive balanced budget: "Income
from ticket sales increased 8% over the previous year thanks to a
24% jump in the number of ticket subscriptions. Summer concert
series Marsh Symphony on the Prairie saw a 7% rise in ticket
The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has posted its third
consecutive year of record sales for its Symphony on the Prairie
summer series. The San Diego Symphony's Summer Pops also
posted record revenue this summer. Both organizations achieved
their success before the final week of concerts. CRStager marketing
is delighted to be working with the marketing teams of both the
Indianapolis Symphony and the San Diego Symphony in reaching
Courtney Beck, Executive Director of Philharmonia Baroque in San
Francisco reports the following to the board: "Both revenue and
seats for 2015-16 subscription sales are showing strong gains on last
season. We are presently less than $3,000 away from our campaign
goal of $633,000, representing an increase of $51,000 on last
season's total subscription revenue. By seats, we surpassed last
season's total long ago. We have sold 1,814 seats to date, more than
60 seats above last year. Sales for San Francisco have shot past last
season by more than $17,000 and Berkeley Saturday is already
$14,000 higher than last season's total. Few orchestras can boast
8% subscription revenue increases in a year. Nearly all of this growth
can be attributed to doubling down on tried-and-true marketing
tactics, including increased direct mail and telemarketing."
Courtney goes on to thank CRStager marketing & audience
development for the planning and advice on the 2015-16 campaign.
After a year of silence, the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera
returned to the stage on June 26 with 1650 of the 1800 seats sold
- half of them to new subscribers! Andrew Grams conducted
Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony, and augmented
with the community's student and amateur string players,
Vaughan Williams' Concerto Grosso. CRStager marketing is
proud to be working with Alice Sauro and her team on the
Philharmonic & Opera's return.
The South Bend Symphony's just completed 2014-15 season
enjoyed ticket sales growth for the first time in at least five years,
posting a 15% increase in subscriptions. Single tickets also grew by
48%, including a true sell-out performance of Beethoven's Ninth
Symphony. All this was achieved with lower marketing expenditure to
increase net contribution by 154% over the previous season. The
Orchestra's endowment was not raided for marketing consulting
as others have been urging; donor trust remains intact.
Subscriptions for the upcoming 2015-16 season are 32% ahead of
this same date last year, assuring a second year of subscription
Carnegie Hall reports that June 12 2015 "Russia Day"
performance by the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic posted the
second-highest attendance there this season. Congratulations to
everyone on the Opus 3 Artists team, publicist Kathryn King, and
social media manager Alanna Stone for making this a wonderful,
successful event to collaborate on!
The Bowling Green (Kentucky) Daily News reports Orchestra
Kentucky "has had record ticket sales for its 2014-15
season." "We've exceeded our ticket sale budget by
$110,000 so far this year," reports Music Director Jeff Reed.
CRStager marketing is delighted to be working with Orchestra
Kentucky in building their audience.
CRStager marketing is pleased to announce two new relationships.
We are delighted to be working with the Albany Symphony and the
San Diego Symphony on marketing and audience development
In our work together over the past two years, CRStager marketing
and the Rhode Island Philharmonic have grown subscriptions by
21%, single tickets by 39%, and paid capacity by 25% on Friday and
22% on Saturday. This growth aligns, and in some cases exceeds,
the long-range strategic objectives of Executive Director David
The Indianapolis Business Journal reports: "Overall ticket sales
jumped 18% for the 2013-14 season, as subscription sales for
classical, pops and family concerts rose by 30% and the summer
staple Symphony on the Prairie recorded a 15% increase in ticket
sales. Subscription sales hit the highest level since the 2008-09
season, bucking conventional wisdom in the performing arts. The
ISO now pushes packages all season long, repackaging and
repricing them as the season progresses to maximize
Congratulations to the Louisville Orchestra. Under the strategic
guidance of CRStager marketing, the Orchestra's Classical Series is
enjoying an historic era of success. Subscription sales have grown
for two consecutive seasons. Subscription sales for the current
season are the highest in a decade. Still early in the current
season, Classical single ticket revenue is tracking 70% ahead of the
2013-14 season, which was in itself an all-time record. Sales for
the Louisville Orchestra's complete line of products are also very
strong, with total subscription revenue the highest since the 2007-
Courier Journal reports: "LOUSIVILLE ORCHESTRA IN THE
"The Louisville Orchestra is reporting a budget surplus. Last
season's subscription and single-ticket sales exceeded
expectations. Executive Director Andrew Kipe credited the surplus
to ticket sales and donations as indicators of greater awareness of
and public confidence in the orchestra."
Subscriptions Growing in Augusta! With two months
Symphony Orchestra Augusta's first concert of the
Classical subscription sales have already surpassed
season final by 10%. Last season posted record
ticket sales, which were 72% higher than the previous
Congratulations to Mieko Di Sano and her team at
Indianapolis Business Journal headline: "ISO sees surge in
ticket sales, led by subscriptions" - The publication goes on to
report: "The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra enjoyed a nearly
19% surge in ticket sales during the 2013-14 indoor concert
season. Subscriptions rose 30%, bucking conventional wisdom in
the performing arts that says subscriptions are dying.
'We're now relentless not only about packaging and promoting
subscriptions but repackaging throughout the season,' said
CEO Gary Ginstling. 'When one show is done, we add another
at the back end and still market the subscription. That allows us to
continue to make the case that a subscription is a great value. We
focus on fundamental marketing around pricing and a compelling
message. We make sure subscribers realize that they are our core
patrons. And we do everything we can to accommodate
Detroit's MLive headline: "Detroit Symphony Orchestra
earns third straight year of subscription growth, bucks national
trend" - and continues "Subscription levels - the
number of subscription units sold - rose across all five product
lines and climbed by 24.7 percent since the 2011-12 season"
The Detroit Symphony reports on February 18 : "[The Orchestra's]
subscription base has grown significantly for the third consecutive
year [in 2013-14], posting a 23% increase in subscriptions sold and
a 17% increase in subscription revenue since 2012...sales have now
eclipsed the 2010 pre-strike subscription base...On sale for less
than a month, 2014-15 subscriptions are already substantially
The Daily Tribune reports on December 24: "With box office
revenues exceeding $425,000 and more than 10,000 tickets sold,
last weekend's "Home for the Holidays" concerts featuring
the Detroit Symphony Orchestra set a box office record for the
annual concert event, the DSO organization announced. The
previous record was set last year with more than $365,000 in
revenue and 8,657 tickets sold . . . "
The New York Times reports on December 11: "The city of
Detroit may be in bankruptcy, but the Detroit Symphony Orchestra
is back in the black...The symphony balanced its
budget for the first time since 2007...Ticket revenue
rose to $6.26 million as the orchestra sold more
subscriptions...its Beethoven festival last February
set a new record for classical ticket sales in the Max M. Fisher Music
Indianapolis CEO Gary Ginstling writes: "I am pleased to report
that two days ago we surpassed the Yuletide Celebration budgeted
revenue goal of $1.425 million. This marks the first time in
anyone's memory that we have surpassed our budgeted goal
prior to opening night. Yuletide revenue has already surpassed
three of the past four years, even though we have fewer
performances this year than in any of those years. And the news
gets even better: because our marketing plan called for early and
aggressive promotion, and because we have so little remaining
inventory, we are going to come in significantly under budget on
our promotional expenses for Yuletide. In fact, we are estimating
promotional expenses to be between 30-35% under budget, further
increasing the net contribution."
The San Francisco Symphony has engaged CRStager marketing to
provide strategic counsel on marketing and audience development.
We are thrilled to be working with Brent Assink and his team.
CRStager marketing is delighted to announce that it has been
retained by the Nashville Symphony, to provide strategic marketing
direction. Also by the North Carolina Symphony, to help develop
their summer concert audiences. And by the Portland Symphony
Orchestra, providing strategic marketing counsel.
The new energy and leadership at the Jacksonville Symphony was
recently profiled in the Jacksonville Business Journal. It's an
in-depth piece on how the orchestra has re-built over the last year
how it is preparing for new artistic leadership.
This summer's Symphony on the Prairie posted the highest per
concert revenue in its history - exceeding $65,000 per
performance, 4% higher than the previous best season. The
Indianapolis Symphony marketing staff brilliantly re-tooled the
advertising and media plan to deliver this stellar outcome!
CRStager marketing helped NJPAC develop a new packaging, pricing
and direct marketing strategy for subscriptions to its classical
series. In its first six weeks, this $15,000 investment has delivered
$113,000 in subscription and single ticket sales. Congratulations
to NJPAC's spectacular marketing team in engineering this
CRStager marketing & audience development is proud to now be
working with the Nashville Symphony on building ticket sales for
the Orchestra's Classical Series. Looking forward to our first
visit this week.
CRStager marketing & audience is proud to be working with
Symphony Orchestra Augusta and Executive Director Mieko Di Sano.
We will be helping the Orchestra build a strategic marketing plan for
the 2013-14 season and a subscription campaign for the 2014-15
season, all with an eye toward the opening of the Miller Theater, the
Orchestra's new home beginning in the fall of 2015.
Four weeks before the start of the season, the Detroit
classical subscription revenue has now eclipsed last season's
This marks the second straight season of subscription growth.
Congratulations to the marketing team at the Detroit Symphony!
After a silence of 18 months, which cancelled the 2011-12 season
and abridged the 2012-13 subscription campaign, it is heartening
to see the subscriber turnaround at the Louisville Orchestra. As of
mid-August, 2013-14 subscriptions are 24% ahead of the final
outcome last season. Subscriptions have also surpassed the final
result of the last full season prior to the stoppage. Growth is being
achieved across all product lines, with an impressive 36%
improvement in Classical. Congratulations to the team at the
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Marsh Symphony on the Prairie
ticket sales are far outpacing recent seasons. Sales are $260,000
ahead of 2012 at this point of the season, and $190,000 ahead of
2011. Congratulations to the marketing team on their masterful
shift in media planning!
In announcing the extension of Marin Alsop as Music Director of the
Baltimore Symphony, The New York TImes of July 24, 2013 reports:
"According to the orchestra, in the season before Ms. Alsop took the
reins, the orchestra was selling, on average, 58 percent
of its seats at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and 77 percent
of its seats at the Music Center at Strathmore. Last season, ticket
sales had risen to 70 percent at Meyerhoff and 80 percent at
Metrotimes of Detroit reports: The Detroit Symphony Orchestra and
Edsel & Eleanor Ford House achieved record attendance and sales
volume of over $160,000 last weekend, as 6000 music fans
gathered at Lake St. Clair.
The Louisville Orchestra 2013-14 subscription campaign is already
24% ahead of the abbreviated 2012-13 final outcome. Growth is
being achieved across all product lines, with an impressive 36%
improvement in Classical. The music is back in Louisville, and so
D Business, the business journal of Detroit, reports on June 13: "As
the Detroit Symphony Orchestra prepares to launch its summer
season at the end of this month, 2012-13 ticket revenues are in,
with a $800,000 increase over the previous season, and a classical
audience that returned to pre-strike levels just two years after the
Subscription levels rose across all five product lines (Classical, Pops,
Jazz, Family and Neighborhood) at a rate unprecedented in recent
history, with classical subscribers climbing by 11 percent,
Neighborhood Concert Series by 25 percent and a goal shattering
100 percent in Young Peoples Family Concert series. Overall, ticket
revenue grew by 15 percent..."
We are working this week with the Indianapolis Symphony in
rebuilding the audience. It is exciting to be working
with their new President Gary Gintsling and his team. It is also a
homecoming: I served as Director of Marketing at the ISO from
1994-99, as did my associate Chuck Kocal from 2003 to 2005.
Last week, Spring For Music 2013 welcomed the orchestras of
Baltimore, Albany, Buffalo, Detroit and Washington to Carnegie Hall.
All tickets were $25 to this celebration of American orchestras and
their programming creativity. It was the best selling Spring For
Music to date, with ticket sales up 17% over 2012. Mark May 4
through 10, 2014 on your calendar for the final Spring For Music.
The Dallas Symphony has just engaged CRStager marketing &
audience development. We are thrilled to be working with the
dynamic team of President Jonathan Martin, Music Director Jaap van
Zweden and the new Vice President of Sales and Marketing Sean
From the Providence, R.I. Journal (April 13, 2013): A sold-out
Veterans Memorial Auditorium got to hear the Beethoven Fifth
Saturday night from a Rhode Island Philharmonic in rare form. They
just kept giving and giving, right through the triumphant finale. -
Congratulations to the Rhode Island Philharmonic on their first sell-
out in at least seven seasons.
In an Op-Ed piece published under the title: Jacksonville Symphony
making good progress, the Times-Union applauds the
just-settled JSO labor agreement, leadership changes, and board
development. It further reports: ticket sales remain strong and
revenues are $342,000 ahead of the same time last year.
We are proud to announce that the Melbourne Symphony has
engaged CRStager marketing to review their pricing history and
develop a long-term pricing strategy to maximize potential revenue
and attract new audiences.
The March performance of Beethoven Symphony No. 7 by The
Louisville Orchestra was the highest selling Classical series concert
of the past five seasons. This is the third consecutive record setting
concert since January 2013. The first three concerts of
2013 now rank among the Top 5 concerts of the past five
seasons. The music is back, and audiences are embracing The
From the Detroit Symphony:
DETROIT, (Feb. 24, 2013) Capped off by sold-out Beethoven
Ninth performances this past weekend, the DSO sold more tickets
for its Beethoven Festival than in any other three-week classical
span since the opening of the Max M. Fisher Music Center in 2003.
Sales for the festival totaled 18,217 tickets, beating the previous
three-week record of 16,601, sold for the Leonard Slatkin inaugural
concerts with the DSO during the 2008-09 season.
The Beethoven Ninth concerts also set their own record for
highest capacity for a 4-concert run, with 7,889 tickets sold.
The Slatkin inaugural concerts (6,927) and James Galway concerts
last season are the only programs coming close to this sales
Remarkable Valentine Weekend Single Ticket sales at the Baltimore
Symphony...and with All Wagner no less! Highest single tickets of
the season at Meyerhoff so far, and second highest at Strathmore.
After early signs these concerts would finish behind budget, the
staff retooled the campaign and media buys to focus on Wagner for
Valentines Day. Great work by the marketing team!
This past weekend, for the opening concerts of its Beethoven
Festival, the Detroit Symphony sold 2,291 single tickets, the highest
since the Leonard Slatkin inaugural concerts of 2008. With two
weeks to go, the three week festival has already exceeded its
With the resumption of Louisville Orchestra concerts following 18
months of silence, the music has returned and so have audiences:
The January performance of Scheherazade posted the highest
single ticket sales of any classical concert since 2005. The
performance last weekend of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with
Adele Anthony is the fourth highest. It is particularly gratifying to
see audiences connecting to their Louisville Orchestra. The 2013-
14 season has just been announced.
The Detroit Symphony enjoyed all-time record holiday ticket sales
for 2012. Between Thanksgiving and the New Year, with 18 events,
single ticket sales of $732,000 exceeded the previous record of
$512,000 (set in 2008, with 17 events) by 43%. The $41,000 per
concert average is also the highest on record.
Excerpted from the Detroit Symphony's Annual Report: "Attendance
numbers for the 2011-12 season rank among the [highest] in the
nation. Classical season attendance shattered expectations. Total
classical concert attendance [was] 16% over projections driven by
back-to-basics marketing strategies. 90% of subscribers renewed
for 2012-13, fueling a 12% increase, the first subscription growth in
the history of the Fisher Center. Average paid attendance improved
13%. Through the first 7 weeks of Fall 2012, DSO reports a 3%
increase against 2011 and a 21% increase against the same period