DETROIT — As the Detroit Symphony Orchestra prepares to launch its summer season at the end of this month, 2012-13 ticket revenues are in, with a $800,000 increase over the previous season, and a classical audience that returned to pre-strike levels just two years after the fact.
Subscription levels rose across all five product lines (Classical, Pops, Jazz, Family and Neighborhood) at a rate unprecedented in recent history, with classical subscribers climbing by 11 percent, Neighborhood Concert Series by 25 percent and a goal shattering 100 percent in Young Peoples Family Concert series. Overall, ticket revenue grew by 15 percent.
Maintaining the industry-pioneering “patron-minded pricing” structure that rolled back prices to 1999 levels, 2012-13 results were achieved without any price increases.
The classical season—which included the DSO’s triumphant return to Carnegie Hall, starred names like Joshua Bell and André Watts, and featured four world premieres—saw a 10 percent increase in single tickets sold over the 2011-12 season. Capped off by sold-out “Beethoven’s Ninth” performances, the DSO sold more tickets for February’s Beethoven Festival than in any other three-week classical span since the opening of the Max M. Fisher Music Center in 2003. Average paid capacity this year rose to 71 percent, a staggering 25 percent improvement over the 2009-10 season. Next season will introduce even more growth potential with a total of 12 more classical concerts, including the addition of a seventh venue in the wildly popular Neighborhood Concert Series.
While every series grew in subscriptions and revenue, Pops single ticket revenue set an all-time record by more than $100,000 over any other season in DSO history, a success that inspired the return of the Friday Night Pops series to next season’s offerings.