5 Ways to Attract Teens to Arts Events

TeenTixNewGuardSelfieHow do today’s teens become the next generation of urban art fans and event-goers? TeenTix is easing the way in Seattle. Founded in 2004 by Seattle Center and in partnership with 10 arts organizations on its campus, it draws teens away from smartphones and into venues to experience symphony, opera, ballet and film.

What’s their secret to success? TeenTix members shared insights with Brown Paper Tickets on how to nurture and engage future generations of culture consumers. Aside from their heavily discounted teen event pass, there’s more to learn.

1. What attracts teens to arts events and to arts involvement?

According to TeenTix members, already being a part of some form of art or performance activity at school seems to be key in attending arts activities outside of school. As well, the reduced price of tickets through TeenTix is crucial for helping students find arts participation accessible. In their words:

“I think being part of some form of art at school (such as being in band, orchestra, choir, art class, etc) has a significant influence on attending art events outside of school.”

“I aspire to one day be a stage manager so I like going to plays to see a good story and observe how the show is tech-ed.”

2. How does social media influence teens to attend arts events?

TeenTix members agreed that social media is key for learning about and sharing arts events. Part of the fun and motivation for attending is in seeing what arts organizations others have “liked,” or which events friends are headed to. In their words:

“Almost all teens are on Facebook so when you see an event being promoted on Facebook, you are more likely to tell your friends and kind of show off that you are going to something that looks cool!”

“Not only is [social media] an effective means of spreading the word about the event, it also is a way to see which of your friends are going…”
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Why Twitter? Madalyn Sklar on Indie Music and Building Relationships

madalynsklarMadalyn Sklar is a music business and social media coach. Though her focus is do-it-yourself for independent artists, she creates, curates and shares content that could be a resource for any small business, especially those working in events. Sklar’s over-arching goal in everything she does (and it shows) is: to enable people to “work smarter, not harder.”

Brown Paper Tickets Q: We came across an infographic about how certain bands were “break-outs” at SXSW if you look at the Twitter numbers around their shows. Since you were in Austin for SXSW and have been in the music industry, would you say that musicians use Twitter well?  If not, what obstacles or misperceptions do they have?

Sklar: There is a segment of musicians using Twitter quite well; however, I have found that a good number of DIY independent artists have not fully embraced it. It’s because they either don’t get it at all or they are somewhat using it but don’t see the real value or benefit. They are not getting a return for their time spent. I have made it my mission over the last several years to teach artists why Twitter plays an important role in their overall marketing for their music. I show them how to reach new fans and music industry professionals. Once they see the real value in Twitter, they begin to invest time on the platform.

Brown Paper Tickets Q: For bands or musicians you’ve worked with that resisted mightily at first, what finally converted them into Twitter fans?

Sklar: I run a popular Twitter chat (#ggchat) for musicians and music biz. I find that a good number of our first-time participants are new to Twitter. There is such a big buzz about the chat that it piques their interest. They are using the Twitter chat to get their feet wet on the platform. What better way to learn than to surround yourself with like-minded musicians and music industry professionals! And the best part is you make instant connections with people. You see immediate results. The chat is fast-paced and really keeps you on your toes. After an hour of discussion in this format, you start learning how to maneuver in Twitter. This is part of taking small steps to learn. From there I have seen participants really blossom on Twitter.
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