Analysis of 50 Canadian Orchestras’ Finances and Attendance between 2004-05 and 2011-12
IssueInformation about arts disciplines – dance, orchestras, documentaries
Based on data from 50 members of Orchestras Canada, this report highlights changes in the situation of orchestras between 2004-05 and 2011-12, including revenues, expenses, surplus, performances, and attendance. All figures in the report are adjusted for inflation.
While overall revenues and expenses increased (by 13% and 12% respectively), the report notes that “the overall revenue mix for the 50 orchestras did not change between 2004-05 and 2011-12. All three key revenue sources represented the same percentage of total revenues in both years: 38% for earned revenues; 33% for government revenues; and 29% for private sector revenues”. A more detailed analysis of revenue sources shows that “fundraising from individuals has become an increasingly important component of orchestra revenues (41% increase between 2004-05 and 2011-12)”.
The report breaks the overall timeframe into two distinct periods. Between 2004-05 and 2008-09, total revenues increased strongly (by 18%). Between 2008-09 and 2011-12, however, total revenues decreased by 4%. This two-period trend – with increasing revenues early on, followed by revenue decreases – was also the case for the three main revenue groups (i.e., earned, government, and private sector revenues).
For the overall timeframe, operating revenue increases were fairly widespread, with 66% of orchestras experiencing an inflation-adjusted increase in revenues. As noted in the report, “once again, there were two distinct periods in the data. Between 2004-05 and 2008-09, 74% of orchestras experienced a real increase in revenues. Only 46% of the orchestras registered a real increase in revenues between 2008-09 and 2011-12.”
On a regional basis, the report notes that orchestras in all five regions of the country (British Columbia, Prairies, Ontario, Quebec, and the Atlantic Provinces) experienced a real increase in revenues, but the growth rates vary, with Atlantic orchestras achieving the highest revenue growth (27%). More than one-half of orchestras in all regions had an inflation-adjusted increase in revenues between 2004-05 and 2011-12. The key factors in revenue growth vary between the regions.
The collective accumulated deficit of 12.5% of operating revenues in 2004-05 was reduced to 8.9% of revenues in 2011-12. The yearly deficit picture was similar in 2004-05 (1.9% of revenues) and 2011-12 (1.5% of revenues). As noted in the report, “these were the two worst deficit years during the timeframe of this study”.
Between 2004-05 and 2011-12, total attendance and the number of performances both increased (by 10% and 17% respectively). When changes in revenues and expenses are compared with the number of performances, “there were relatively small decreases in almost all revenue and expense data per performance”. Compared with attendance growth, “there was no change or a very small increase in revenue and expense data per attendee”. The value of endowment funds increased from 56% of all 50 orchestras’ total revenues in 2004-05 to 86% of total revenues in 2011-12. The number of orchestras reporting an endowment fund increased from 28 in 2004-05 to 33 in 2011-12.
The report also provides an analysis of changes by size of orchestra and by community size. While there was “substantial variation in the change in total revenues between different sizes of orchestras”, no simple pattern emerged from this analysis. Regarding community size, the data in the report indicate that orchestras in larger communities tended to fare better over time than their counterparts in less-populous areas.