Eric Nelson
Eric Nelson Vice President, Global Partnerships

Arts and Culture Benchmark Orchestra Update: March 2024

Eric Nelson at TRG Arts and Karen Yair at The League of American Orchestras have joined forces again to share insights from TRG’s Arts and Culture Benchmark, the largest data set of arts engagement in the world. Their recent webinar engaged participants in a discussion of current trends shaping the performing arts sector and specifically US Orchestras. The conversation ranged from topics like adjustments in event timings to evolving audience engagement strategies, to ticket sales and donations.

TRG Arts’ Benchmark is an incredible resource for organizations to compare their earned and contributed revenue performance against a comprehensive group of peers. Through detailed analysis and insights provided by TRG Arts and interacting with the Benchmark, participants can gauge their performance against sector-wide trends and historical data, empowering them to make informed strategic decisions that drive growth and deepen audience engagement.

One of the key highlights from the webinar was data that reflected a resurgence in ticket revenue across various genres in 2023, signaling a recovery for the sector. Analysis of single tickets and subscriptions offered a notable rise in single ticket revenue from first-time ticket buyers and consistency of package size from last standing subscribers.

A significant shift in audience composition was also noted, with an increase in ticket buyers and donors under the age of 60. This trend underscores the potential for growth by appealing to new audiences. Leveraging data to inform effective engagement strategies can be helpful.

Subscription trends within the Orchestra sector were also examined within the Benchmark, showing stability in the number and size of subscription packages purchased compared to pre-pandemic levels. This stability indicates that audiences continue to value the opportunity to attend multiple performances.

Harnessing the Power of the TRG Arts Benchmark

Eric Nelson and Karen Yair concluded the webinar by encouraging attendees spread the word about the TRG Arts and Culture Benchmark to colleagues at other Orchestras who are not yet participating. The more Orchestras who join the Benchmark the more robust the data set will be. By leveraging data, focusing on audience engagement, and experimenting with programming and package structures, organizations can chart a course towards sustained growth and success.