To Webcast Or Not To Webcast

On May 2, 2017, at 10:00 AM, right after receiving our first general public flyer promoting “Is Anybody Listening? Webcast”, a person, who shall remain anonymous, wrote to me:

“With all due respect, there is nothing like sitting in front of an orchestra as they create sounds with their instruments. I feel that webcasts do not allow us the human contact necessary to intermingle with one another, or watch the person sitting next to you as they smile when they hear a piece of music that thrills them. Or from the beginning of a concert, the search for ones seat, which is such a part of seeing live music.

“Thank you for your suggestion, but I will pass.”

I answered his thoughts with the following:

Hello (Sir),

Thanks for writing back.  You are correct, of course, and that’s why we run the concert live in New York City as well as our webcast. We too love a live show.

But for those who can’t afford to get on a plane from Dallas, TX, much less Paris or some small town in Australia, at one tenth the price of our New York Live show, it’s a pretty compelling experience.  A ticket to a Broadway show now costs between $100 and $500 and up, not to mention the cost of getting there and the extras that “just going out” incur. To view our webcast will cost the individual around $10 or less. And the viewing can be from the comfort of their living room chair with a live visit backstage to meet the stars for a personal talkback at the end that has, so far in the first two webcasts, lasted around 40 minutes plus. In all, a two hour entertainment.

Also, don’t forget television.  It’s not “live”, but it is a powerful entertainment and communication phenomena. I saw a Sting concert the other night on TV that was terrific.  His tour did take him to Madison Square Garden here in NYC, but I was traveling at the time and missed it. I was most grateful to at least experience the better part of it.

Yes, a webcast is an alternative way (with no commercial interruption) to enjoy a performance, and perhaps not as ‘live human’ an experience as one might wish desiring a “live human” performance.  But for those who could never make it in the first place for a large variety of reasons, it’s attracting an otherwise impossible audience all over the world.

One last consideration before I get off my soapbox: We all love our movies.  I used to go out the movies once or twice a week.  Now, if I go, it’s more like maybe once a month and I now watch twice as many movies as I used to from the comfort and enjoyment of my living room chair.  It too is an alternative experience that I’m quite comfortable with.  Also far less expensive …

I don’t expect to change your mind here, rather just give you a deeper insight into why we have gone through so much to do this.  For those who live too far, or cannot afford, we’re finding a most grateful nation. And for those who might just want to stay at home and invite a few friends in for the evening — a great fun and personal experience.  It’s a new world we’re dabbling in and yes, an exciting alternative to a changing world.

I, myself, will renew my Philadelphia Orchestra concerts seats at Carnegie Hall this year and certainly look forward to that!  We hope you will reconsider one night in the future and join us for an extraordinarily reduced cost.  Or join us in the fall in NYC for the next live iteration of “Is Anybody Listening?”  Thanks for listening!

 

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