Posted 19 June 2011 - 05:40 AM
I think those who set prices and make other presumptions tend to err. More than once, I have read about a ballerina told to play for the fan in the last row, because that is where the true fan sits; only a true fan would forego anything to use his last penny to sit in the last row. I have heard similar discussions about fans of musicians, who bring fans from the last row to the front row, on the assumption that they really want to be there but have the misfortune of buying cheap ticket. However, I have saved my money by sacrificing other less important things in order to have sufficient funds to sit as close as possible for the performances that really matter to me. For example, I may want to see three different leads in a ballet, but I would rather see one performance from the front row sitting in a more expensive seat. I may want to see ten bands play during the year, but I save my money to see my favorite band in the front row; I do not spread my money over ten events and get bad seats to each. I also do not waste money on other entertainment or clothing. I will use the library or wear the same old clothes each year. This way, I can pay for my $150 front row ticket. How can the ballerina then say that her real fan is the one in the back row, when this person may have attended ten different events without her and bought into every new fashion trend of the season, and has only $20 left for a ticket, or waited to the last minute because she did not decide if she wanted to go until the day of the performance arrived and she had nothing better to do, and only a last row seat is left? My point is that the people who buy tickets early are a mix of true fans needing to feel safe and obtain the best seats early, whatever the price, and those who for social or business reasons buy a subscription. We pay a premium for the risk that the performer will be injured. We are forbidden to trade or return tickets on the day of the performance, so we pay for this risk, too. We can take a chance of buying cheaper seats at the TKTS booth or from a scalper, but we may not be able to obtain a ticket, and this is generally a risk we do not want to endure. Subscriptions offer certain types of discounts over a series of tickets, but greater discounts seem to be available on the day of the performance, if the risk is tolerable. Those who would seek subscriptions as fans would not generally endure the risk. That is why we are being gouged. The people who are not true fans would tend to make more cost-based decisions, and this is where I think the audience is being lost.