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Jennifer Sowinski
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Grow arts and culture revenue

Ask Me Anything: Repertoire Scoring


Ask Me Anything Question

"We’re looking for ways to make our budgeting and forecasting more accurate, and are thinking about implementing repertoire scoring. What’s the best way to get started?"

Jennifer Sowinski’s Answer

The idea behind repertoire scoring is to give each performance or production a numerical code or score. Repertoire scoring is an excellent way to get a sense of how different types of content sell at your organization, and to recognize trends over time. Using it to budget and forecast is an excellent plan.

The first thing you’ll want to do is determine your scoring criteria. We suggest starting with numerical values and then adding labels later on. Some criteria to consider when scoring:

  • Artists Involved
  • Time of Year
  • Content (Family-friendly, Mature, etc.)
  • Popularity/Name Recognition

But there are many more!

Once you know your criteria, decide the highest and lowest points each of them can receive. Maybe particularly difficult pieces get negative scores, but the highest score in any category should be a 3, so you might decide that each score can range from -1 to 3. It’s up to you and what will make the most sense for your organization, and this process may take some tweaking the more you get into it. Keep in mind that the larger your range, the more composite scores you’ll be getting in the end.

As an example, let’s consider a concert that’s not very familiar or accessible content-wise, but has a well-known conductor and soloist. If we use the -1 to 3 scoring we laid out above, perhaps we come up with:

Artists Involved

2

Time of Year

1

Content

-1

Popularity

0

TOTAL SCORE

2

So the repertoire score for our upcoming concert is 2, and if our total scale is -4 to 12, that definitely falls on the mid to lower end.

Remember that this is all dependent upon the criteria you choose and the range of scores you select. But after each production or performance is scored, you can start to examine similarities between them. What were capacities like? What were people paying? How early were people buying? And then you can use that information to improve your budgets and forecasts for upcoming performances.

You may even be able to start predicting audience behavior based on the repertoire the patron prefers to see. For example, you may choose to stop sending marketing materials about blockbuster performances with high rep scores to patrons who prefer lower-scoring performances

There’s no right or wrong way to set up your scores—just make sure they work for your organization and is neither too simple nor too complicated. And we’d be happy to help you out if you need it!


JCA Arts Marketing collaborates with cultural organizations to increase revenue, boost attendance and membership, and grow patron loyalty. We provide consulting and software services to hundreds of cultural institutions across multiple genres, including dance, museums, opera, performing arts centers, symphony, and theatre. We can help you achieve your marketing goals.

Jennifer Sowinski, Consultant, JCA Arts Marketing