As I mentioned in a recent blog post, the phrase “new business model” is far too often used as shorthand for “paying musicians less” – ironic given that paying people less is a very old business model indeed.
It’s probably a phrase that should be abandoned simply because it’s been so contaminated. Yet there are some examples of orchestras that have tried, with some success, to organize their work in non-traditional ways. My colleague Ann Drinan has documented several of them; two wonderful examples are her profiles of the Toledo Symphony from 2008 and the Memphis Symphony in 2010. For those interested in real change – as opposed simply to shrinking compensation (preferably someone else’s) – these are must-read pieces. (Additional information about the role of musicians in the management of the Toledo Symphony can be found in this 2000 article for Harmony by Joel Mandelbaum).