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Orchestra 2.0: Symphonies beat cable to a la carte

The Los Angeles Philharmonic performs at the Walt Disney concert hall.

Imagine for a minute you're a CEO and your product isn't anything you can touch, or hold in your hands, or easily put on your smartphone.

It's experiential in the truest sense of the word, users skew older, and forget free -- your product isn't cheap at all. What are you supposed to do in an economy like the one we've got now, in which a growing number of consumers want what they want, when they want it, and nothing more?

Jesse Rosen deals with that problem every single day as the CEO of the League of American Orchestras

He says the traditional subscription orchestra business model forced patrons to buy a block. The people who bought Beethoven supported the folks who only wanted to see Mahler. But the business is adapting, and now orchestras are doing something that even cable TV hasn't done yet:

"The subscription system is really at odds with how people plan and organize their entertainment experiences today. So one of these things that's happened is we've seen a move to a different type of subscription package called a 'create your own.' So you give up having the same seat all the time, but what you get is the flexibility of picking the concerts you want to go to at the times you want to go to them."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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