Rupert Christiansen (Telegraph, 23 March 2015) writes about the practise of ‘papering the house’ – offering cut price tickets in the run up to a concert in order to occupy seats when ticket sales have been low. He’s a little worried about it.
I often benefit from such deals. I often find the resulting atmosphere is rather more invigorating than concerts where the audience isn’t at capacity. It doesn’t dent my enthusiasm for the concert hall, nor does it make me less inclined to pay full price for a ticket either.
As it happens, I’m more likely to pay full price if the performer is someone I especially want to see, although I’m unlikely to spend any more than £40-£50 on a ticket. In those situations I rarely look at the rest of the audience and wonder who’s got the comps and who got the knock-down tickets. I don’t care.
What I care about is that as many people as possible get to experience the concert hall. I’m comfortable with the notion that for some audience newbies, tempting them with a freebie or a cut-price ticket is a good way of welcoming them in.
The image used in this post is of the interior of the ‘Lingotto’ Concert Hall in Turin and comes from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra blog. I didn’t ask first, but figure if they have a problem with me using it they’ll drop me a line.