Arts and culture is a big business—a $1.02 trillion sector whose 100,000+ organizations serve almost every community in the nation. This podcast is about running that business: how to grow audiences, develop high performing teams and leaders, get younger attendees in the seats and on the donor rolls, apply strategies working in other sectors, and generate millions more dollars in revenue, all in order to serve the mission and flourish in a changing world. Hosted by “the Steve Jobs of classical music” (Observer) and "Sheryl Sandberg of the Symphony" (LA Review of Books), in each episode Aubrey Bergauer discusses the offstage work of arts organizations and the administrators, artists, and board members who make them run. Subscribe, download, and listen right here.
Season 3 Trailer: Run It Like A Business
1:21This season on The Offstage Mic we are talking about strategies to combat the challenges in the cultural sector borrowed from the business world that have proven successful across patron retention, subscriptions, ecommerce, raising money, and digital content (to name a few).And throughout the season, I’m occasionally bringing in some people who know the business world quite well to help me break it down: board members of our orchestras, operas, ballets, theaters, museums, zoos, and more.These are the people governing our cultural institutions, who also have incredible professional experience outside the arts, and who are also among the most connected to and engaged with our mission-driven work.All so that we can Run It Like a Business — without sacrificing the art we produce. Season 3 of the Offstage Mic is coming up right here. Hit “follow” or “subscribe” right now.
Bonus Episode: Run It Like A Business—Book Launch Conversation with Kelly Harris
23:46Yesterday was publication day for my new book, Run It Like A Business: Strategies for Arts Organizations to Increase Audiences, Remain Relevant, and Multiply Money—Without Losing the Art.To celebrate, we put together something special for you: a live show we recorded just last night at the book launch party here in San Francisco. It’s a conversation with myself and Kelly Harris, Executive Director of Haight Street Art Center.The book and our conversation is for people and arts organizations who want to:Grow audiences and keep them coming back againMake our organizations more inclusiveGet younger attendees in the seats and on the donor rollsAnd generate millions more dollars in revenue, in order toContinue to create the art we love—without the stress of figuring out how to afford itBook details and how to get your copy: https://www.aubreybergauer.com/book
We Are On the Same Team: Union Relationships and Collective Bargaining in the Arts with Ted Nelson and Jessica Phillips
59:02What works and what doesn’t at the bargaining table with unions in arts and culture. Cellist Ted Nelson served as chair of the players committee at the Cincinnati Symphony, and clarinetist Jessica Phillips served as players committee chair at the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Both worked toward collaborative and creative agreements, and in this final episode of the season, they share first-hand about their experience.What needs to happen before negotiations ever begin, how training musicians serving in these important roles is critical, and their thoughts on streaming contracts going forward so together we can make the pie bigger for all of us.See you again soon for Season 3!
Attracting & Retaining Staff Talent with Karen Freeman
40:45Talent acquisition and the state of the workforce in arts and culture is shifting. More Baby Boomers are nearing retirement, more Gen-Z workers are entering the labor force, the Millennials and Gen-Xers are changing their relationship with work and their thoughts around remote or flexible work options.National research from Advisory Board for the Arts shows the top driver of employee satisfaction and talent retention in the arts is no longer reputation for artistic excellence, but a strong and healthy company culture. Karen Freeman, who has a background as a player, as well as degrees from Harvard and MIT, and later at McKinsey as global head of digital & analytics learning for generalist consultants, joins Aubrey to share the findings of this research.And as mentioned at the top of the episode, if you want some ideas for your summer reading list, here are Aubrey’s book reviews: business books as seen through the lens of an arts manager. This is the penultimate episode in season two—enjoy!
How to Release Recordings without a Label with Mike Warner & Jamie Freedman
44:36You no longer need a label to release digital recordings for streaming. Today, any ensemble of any size can take advantage of the way recording and distribution has changed and release directly to streaming platforms.In this episode, Aubrey is joined by two experts — Mike Warner, Head of Editorial Marketing Partnerships - North America at Believe, and Jamie Freedman, Head of Classical Programming at Pandora — to talk through the play by play (stream by stream?!)They cover topics including how an ensemble can self-release, how an organization can be empowered to do yourself things a label historically or traditionally would have done and have more control because of it, how the artistic, production, and marketing teams will need to work together, and the nuts and bolts of releasing digital music directly vs going with a distributor.And if you don't know what all that means or looks like, that's ok too — the whole point of this episode is to learn so you walk away educated and informed. And therefore confident and ready to tackle your next recording project knowing exactly how you'll get maximum ears to listen to it.
Storytelling Techniques with Hollywood Producer Marcia Gwendolyn Jones
38:18Tell the stories of your arts organization and artists with tips and techniques from former Pixar Hollywood producer. Marcia Gwendolyn Jones, the producing force behind blockbuster animated films Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo, and PAW Patrol: The Movie.Aubrey and Marcia cover what bringing a script to the screen has in common with bringing performances to the stage, expert storytelling tips to apply to your own stories at arts organizations, and the highs and lows of storytelling: what are the best things about storytelling? What’s the biggest challenge?Pretty much any brand that’s thriving and growing its customer base is good at storytelling, and this episode shares from one of the best storytellers around, so that we can feel empowered to bring our organization’s own stories to life.
Training Artists to be Social Media Influencers with David Taylor
41:16The influencer industry is worth billions of dollars and growing because consumers trust people more than brands these days. Arts organizations have a built-in influencer army—our artists—and we can train them on digital content and social media.In this episode, Aubrey brings in David Taylor, who worked with the Philharmonia in London to do just this. We'll hear the case study of what they did, what worked and what didn't, and some unexpected results they saw.Get David’s book, The Future of Classical Music - Part 1: A collection of articles, talks, and ideasSlover Linett research on classical music radio listenership discussed in the opening remarks here.
Organizational Design in the Arts with Julian Chender
32:03How to update the organization structure of your arts organizations to be more productive, break down silos, and better do the work. Hear from Julian Chender, an expert in organization design through his work at Accenture as well as his own company he founded. Together, Aubrey and Julian look at the challenges with the existing structure that's been in place at most arts organizations for the last 40+ years, and how to design the organization for goals that affect everyone going forward.Links· Organization design article Julian and Aubrey co-authored.· See Julian’s slides on YouTube.
Monetizing Streaming Performances with Zenetta Drew
36:49How to monetize streaming performances for new and alternate revenue streams for your arts organization well beyond the pandemic. In a world where many arts organization have struggled to make money with streaming and digital content, or stopped streaming altogether, here’s one organization still streaming and making lots of money from it—and growing their audience, too.Learn more about Dallas Black Dance Theatre.Drew's article for the Wallace Foundation: Can Pandemic Be Catalyst for New Global Arts Ecology?
Increasing Fundraising Revenue with Louis Diez
26:00For development folks in the arts who want to increase fundraising revenue and reverse the trends of declining donor households. As more organizations are facing the national trend of donor households down, dollar goals up, Louis Diez is a thought leader with results to back it up across both higher education and classical music. Learn more about the Donor Participation Project Louis founded: JoinDPP.orgFollow Louis on LinkedIn for great fundraising thought leadership and ideas.