Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Numbers

Greg Sandow posted some fascinating numbers on his ArtsJournal blog last week, covering the number of concerts and number of attendees annually at some 1200 American orchestras between 1990 and 2004. His posting focusses on the attendence patterns, but to me that's not the most interesting aspect of the numbers.

What caught my eye is the enormous increase in the number of concerts in that time period: from 25,210 to 37,263. Folks, that's a 50% increase in the number of concerts! There's an amazing story buried in that! Who is giving those additional concerts? Where are they? Does this mean that somewhere, new orchestras are attracting new audiences? That existing orchestras are overextended? That too many organizations are chasing the same butts to get them in the seats? In what segment are those additional concerts? (Greg raises that question.) What on earth do those numbers mean?

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