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Free arts and music event tickets are plentiful for a reason.

Arts Factor Infographic
Arts Factor Infographic

The arts are affordable in Greater Boston, presenting free performances and events that are enjoyed by 7.7 million people annually, with a median cost of paid admission of $16 Arts Factor Report authors wrote.

“Every time music is played, somebody gets paid,” says John Kellog, an expert music business lawyer and Professor at  Berklee College of Music.

I take the two statements above very seriously. On the one hand, I’m a member of ASCAP,  the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers  as a composer, writer and publisher of my own music.

And I distribute free tickets to hundreds who have joined my private e-mailing list on the principal that I will only mail them “the absolute best deals that are too good to be true.”  These are free movie tickets, free theatre tickets and opportunities for being cast on network TV shows  without giving up a cut when I get them from casting directors.

The purpose of this article is to examine the pricing strategy of FREE or FREEMIUM that is being used by Boston arts organizations and musicians around the world.

Plato said “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” 

The same thing can be true about the FREEMIUM business model. Without listeners (soul), performing artists have no life (wings)  in their chosen genre. But when listeners who first experience the work for free become engaged with your craft they’ll pay money for the chance to own the experience (music and performance). This is about knowing what your audience wants and giving them exactly what they want.

Boston artists want to provide what you want.  Free tickets are a part of that strategy. Free tickets also provide upsell and cross-sell opportunities. And free tickets leverage audience expansion and the funding apparatus in a positive way.

If free tickets were not a cost efficient customer acquisition and conversion path, you would not have as many free ticket offers to choose from as you have today.