Class economics, sabhas, sky high ticket prices and the tragedy of empty seats.

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SrinathK
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#1 Class economics, sabhas, sky high ticket prices and the tragedy of empty seats.

Post by SrinathK » 13 Jan 2019, 23:01

I have time and again cracked a joke this season about sabha tickets on track to exceed airfares in coming years after my experience this season. While we are pleased that our musicians are making more than before and there are more opportunities both in Chennai and elsewhere, the sabhas are beginning to cross the line of atrocious when it comes to ticket prices. Already it is impossible for a family to attend a concert or two in some premier halls, as it might eat up their entire vacation savings.

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=32532 -- And here's one more example.

One might ask even as to what is the point of this class economics in seating. Well, first up, here's how the airline industry actually makes money : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzB5xtGGsTc

This video on class economics will tell you what's really going on. It's quite clear that the premium section brings in far more money than the entire economic section put together. So far so good? Well, this just shows you why sabhas are less smart than they think.

See, airlines are really clever. They know how to fill up 90-95% of their seats as well. They know how to offer an all economy class experience and still make money out of it (especially in India). They can make money by still offering heavy discounts. Right now it's the shock of international oil prices that's the biggest factor in their profit margins.

And this is not easy. The airline industry runs on paper thin margins, to the extent where they ask their staff to keep their weight down to save fuel costs (I'm not kidding, Go Air actually quoted this as a reason not to use men as cabin crew).

By this yardstick, sabhas aren't even close. This season alone I have seen most concerts only at half or less strength and still they never wanted to even lower the prices even a bit so that more people would walk in and attend. If premium is unattractive, and the concert is anyway going to go on, they would actually get more money with lower pricing. They could even afford to have a portion of free seats and still their halls wouldn't be full.

It has come to the point where just like first class is reducing on airlines (maybe not now, but when oil was over $100 a barrel it was a big concern), sabhas too will have to come down to earth.

Only recently a FB post talked about a sabha in Mylapore and their treatment of rasikas and artistes. They were complaining that audience numbers are down to 70% of where it was a few years ago, which given the way they're going about treating the rasikas isn't unexpected.

It might need some smart young blood from the airline industry to get them to market themselves properly enough that they can both fill up their seats and get in some good money. But the first thing they might tell you is -- "But air travel is a necessity now. CM is always an option."

Here I do not really know how much of it is due to high ticket prices and how much of it is due to scheduling and lack of patronage in general - we need to see if people aren't turning up regardless of ticket prices or whether scheduling the concert on a weekend would help (I'm talking about off music season concerts). Even in sabhas where concerts were free, I still noticed that many times, the halls are still far from full. I have begun to feel that with as many as 100 events happening across the city, the field is indeed beginning to spread thin.

I suspect that sabhas are fleecing because a)they know at some point that regardless of ticket prices, their attendance is hardly going to improve or b) they suck at class economics and have kind of eliminated all possibility of their halls getting filled up

Whether it is due to some combination of work life balance, costly ticket prices, demographics, and too many concerts happening at once causing dilution in attendance, the situation is not good - this rather poor implementation of premium pricing is making the top tier of CM more inaccessible every year.

Now I wonder what people who are in the know how of the organizing and the people who frequently attend concerts will tell me about the ground realities.
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shankarank
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#2 Re: Class economics, sabhas, sky high ticket prices and the tragedy of empty seats.

Post by shankarank » 13 Jan 2019, 23:35

Now that you bring in airlines, soon we will have airline food ( the term became a butt of a joke in Jay Leno The tonight Show in NBC). After Sri naTarAjan's demise and Sri R Krishnamurthy's demise , the family descendents have bolted from NGS for precisely same reasons. The sabha wanted too much - I heard thru grapevines!

Soon you will get airline food , with masalE filled with paTTai ( cinnamon instead of vibhUti paTTai!) and sOmbu to break the class/caste barrier!
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ratanabhinav
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#3 Re: Class economics, sabhas, sky high ticket prices and the tragedy of empty seats.

Post by ratanabhinav » 13 Jan 2019, 23:48

I'm happy that at least a lot of money is being spent on it ( Carnatic Music)
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shankarank
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#4 Re: Class economics, sabhas, sky high ticket prices and the tragedy of empty seats.

Post by shankarank » 14 Jan 2019, 10:03

One good thing about airlines is still the toilets. For the airline pricing, have the sabhas upgraded those at least? They should have scan enabled lock like Ahluwalia , the planning commission chairman, did in the previous progressive government. So they are not too public, as they are in the ground and not in air! The scan bar code can be in the ticket or can be loaded in the mobile, with an OTP.

How is train travel now a days? Heard in many important southern routes, even Rajdhani is full of rodents and roaches. If the quality of the crowd is not up to the mark, then sabhas are not that far behind. They will smuggle in airline food and litter the masalE everywhere , attracting the pests.

You run the risk of losing the premium crowd , especially NRI(s). Once pests are in, they don't have any class discrimination. Very fair ones they are! In the trains, A/C , First class , first A/C are no exception.

So pricing has to be high, like Neiman Marcus, to keep out kacchda people. The Saudi royal family gets limoed in to do shopping to their hearts content!

Also remember a city or locality does not take too long to get run down. Remember tamizhisai sangam? Like Detroit! It is better when real estate is hot to bail out , like New Woodlands has decided. Veejaysai the hated reviewer bemoaned the loss of a coffee jaunt near Academy.

With Metros reach to far flung areas , who knows , where the center of activity will move out.

Better to think ahead, cash out and build a CM Nagar somewhere. If the area is decent , has good schools and a gets a property appreciation potential, may be NRI(s) will invest. Get Mrs YGP to frachise a PSBB there. The artistes , many of them degree holders in as diverse subjects like physics, economics and chemistry and engineering can teach a class or level or two.

Devout NRI(s) have bought up many houses inside Sri Rangam and in Melkote, said Sri Velukkudi. Lets see how much such similar devotees CM has!

Build an array of 200 seaters and few 500 seaters as well, not just one Sabha. Make it like Broadway. The Charsur guy was dreaming of that theater style setting once.

Get artistes to live there as well. Rent it out to them, but make sure there is a Mafia dada that will manage evictions and downgrades gracefully. Thats how even government runs right? Nothing fishy.

Time to think!!!

P.S: I will only pity the plight of rookie MA Secretary who will stare at the shopping malls or movie theaters or whatever takes over the space in his heritage walk with a big sigh! After all he or his successor to the business will need new itineraries to keep the interest of the takers!
Last edited by shankarank on 14 Jan 2019, 22:02, edited 3 times in total.
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makham
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#5 Re: Class economics, sabhas, sky high ticket prices and the tragedy of empty seats.

Post by makham » 14 Jan 2019, 13:03

Don't focus on golden eggs. Focus on the goose - nourish it , take care of its health, provide it cosy accommodation - golden eggs will follow as an emergent effect.
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rajeshnat
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#6 Re: Class economics, sabhas, sky high ticket prices and the tragedy of empty seats.

Post by rajeshnat » 14 Jan 2019, 13:16

Srinath
About 8 to 10 years back kalarasana used to conduct in rani seethai hall.There used to be two slabs one was 200 and another much higher . Incidentally 200 was taking up 80% of capacity. This approach is best

The problem now with sabhas right now is only 2 to 4 rows are kept for the lowest denomination . The second spike in tickets is way too steep and is usually 500 bucks and that takes the bulk of the capacity. Ideally I feel 100 rs ticket with say 5 rows , 200 with 20 rows and 500 with 3 rows and keep the VIP for two rows either price it 1000 or give it to future bigweights.

THe whole equation collapses when the lowest pricing is itself high and is most likely filled fast with only few rows . The middle slab pricing is way too high and is out of reach for families and friends . Many are not coming to concert venues in the last one year to two because of price. What is the incentive for a family to take four by spending 2000 Rs to attend live concerts. CM is not a commercial Rock Music Band or illayaraja or AR REhman live.
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shankarank
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#7 Re: Class economics, sabhas, sky high ticket prices and the tragedy of empty seats.

Post by shankarank » 14 Jan 2019, 20:18

@makham MAK sir! what sir? pakkavAdya (or upapakkavAdya) dharmam demands that if the main artiste does 15 minutes, you do 7 - 10 min! You did not even appreciate my post where I adhered to it in spirit if not in letter , for I was still less number of lines, in exact terms, compared to the opening post. And you quit with a one liner! :lol:
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shankarank
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#8 Re: Class economics, sabhas, sky high ticket prices and the tragedy of empty seats.

Post by shankarank » 14 Jan 2019, 22:08

As a fall back the Cleveland model is available. In the (run)downtown of would be Alwarpet , on a known holiday there will be no eey or kakkai on the road and a bunch of CM lovers will rent the refurbished hotel nearby to conduct a 10 or 15 day festival.

A rascal house like pizza jaunt will open for sympathy and serve the attendees.

Chennaiyil ThiruvaiyAru gets replaced by Chennayil Cleveland!

Meanwhile kapali temple will be busy cancelling the concert of a musician because he sang on such and such personalities of a different religion.
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sridhar
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#9 Re: Class economics, sabhas, sky high ticket prices and the tragedy of empty seats.

Post by sridhar » 17 Jan 2019, 08:00

I remember paying Rs 250 for a Bomaby Jayashree concert in MA back in 1999. It wasn't even in the front few rows. think they were going for 400 or so. Considering that ticket prices have not gone up that much, I think. Another comparison is with US prices. Here top artists like Sanjay, Krishna and Abhishek will demand $50-$100 for front rows (granted the pricing is extreme only in some areas). If you equate 100K salary with 10 lakhs in India (which seem to be comparable middle to upper middle class salaries) the pricing seems comparable. Everything else is going up exponentially in India - a flat in mylapore now can demand upwards of 2 crores and hard to find decent ones even at those prices. One positive thing at least in chennai is there are umpteen number of free concerts you can rather go to whereas here it is often that one high priced concert or order in Pizza.
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shankarank
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#10 Re: Class economics, sabhas, sky high ticket prices and the tragedy of empty seats.

Post by shankarank » 04 Feb 2019, 04:02

This about what was really being sold :

https://stratechery.com/2019/aws-mongod ... en-source/

Now - what!!??- Music industry becomes a metaphor to study another industry! :lol: :lol:

Next what ? The Car!! Car itself is worth nothing but the convenience of getting one is. You get the car from Uber/Ola and the music to ride with it may be. Your attention span has the opportunity to hear something as you are forced to sit in one place for 30 min!

Musicians will have to find ways to engage the Car riders with new content - wean them away from the same boring stuff they have heard and strike a deal with Car-taxi-wallahs - who were once billed as a threat to payments , finance , retail and restaurants! :lol:
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