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Fancy Orchestra-Goers Disturbed by Lowly Text Marketing

the new york philharmonic
The New York Times, our favorite text of culture snobbery, published an article yesterday entitled "Orchestras Seek BFF by Cellphone Texts." Despite the curiously nerdy headline, the piece was about concert-goers who are disturbed by the fact that orchestras and their attendant marketing teams have realized that these things called cell phones can be used to advertise their brands. The article tells the story of a New York Philharmonic concert in Central Park, during which the audience was given the option of choosing the encore that the soloist would perform. After sending in their votes, audience members received a text reply that offered a discount on the performer's CD and a suggestion to become a fan on Facebook.

Horror of horrors! What the Times calls "incident" is all-too-commonplace in venues less venerable. The younguns and the hoi polloi have grown accustomed, with varying comfort, to the intrusions of marketing campaigns through e-mails, text messages and, lately, smartphone apps. And it seems that elite entertainment, which we'd wager are struggling just as much as any other sector in this economy, are no longer willing to thumb their noses at cell phone spam if it means any kind of positive return.

Of course, Daniel Wakin, the author of the Times article, may not be familiar with lower forms of entertainment like, say, 'American Idol'; he writes that SMS marketing has been utilized by "charities, restaurants, airlines and museums" -- as opposed to TV shows, Coca-Cola and Burger King. (Or does BK fall under the "restaurant" category?) Or perhaps Wakin is just writing for the older, moneyed readership, who may be surprised to learn that when you give your cell phone number to a business, they're likely to use it to sell you something.

Hey, we're not defending text-message marketing in the slightest. Unsolicited texts are deeply annoying, and, depending on your service plan, could impact your monthly bill. Wakin notes that not every orchestral company has turned to the Dark Side, including the Atlanta Symphony, which chooses to delete its cache of cell numbers after audiences have voted for their encore. Some companies haven't decided to exploit their audience due to cost constraints; as a spokeswoman for the Cleveland Orchestra told Wakin, "For something like Bud Light or the New York Yankees to do it, that's part of their marketing budget." But not so with Cleveland.

So it's a bit of a trade-off. Do we let orchestras financially deteriorate, or do we accept the spam that may keep them afloat another season? Though, it might appear that the New York Philharmonic, at least, has some cash to burn: Wakin noted in an article last week that Lorin Maazel, the company's previous music director, earned $3.3 million in his final season. [From: New York Times]

Tags: cellphones, concert, DanielWakin, direct marketing, DirectMarketing, marketing, music, NewYorkPhilharmonic, NewYorkTimes, Orchestra, sms, spam, symphony, texting, top

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