20-something pricing

Fall has rolled around and there’s no sign of the three-year-old 18/29 subscription for 18-29 year olds at the CSO. The former deal: when single ticket sales began in the autumn, 18-29 year olds could get preferential pricing ($18-$29, about 60% off single ticket prices) on edge-of-main-floor or terrace seats for when creating a choose-your-own subscription from a selection of concerts (lower selling, usually due to modern music on the program). Three catches: a subscription minimum of three concerts, no typical subscriber benefits, and age validation when picking up the tickets. Still, it was a great deal and seemed to work; I spent about the same in 2004 as in 2003, but went to twice as many concerts. Dozens of young people seemed to be using the option, based on eyeball surveys comparing the “allowed” seating areas with the regular subscribers. Yet it was apparently phased out in favor of the 6:30 “evening rush” concerts.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Symphony sounds almost apologetic about raising the price of “tsoundcheck” youth tickets from $10 to $12. More than 20,000 members have signed up for tsoundcheck. And the “City Opera”:http://www.nycopera.com/productions/big/index.aspx in New York has a “Big Deal” membership option which discounts two-weeks-in-advance tickets to $30 apiece after a $50 ($75 for two) annual membership fee. The integrated marketing program also includes specially designed mailers, prominently featuring lusty young singers cradling one another and super-pithy program descriptions:

bq. “Famous singer seeks help rescuing her anarchist boyfriend from a corrupt police chief. Will consider murder if push comes to shove.”