“Arts organizations, especially classical music ones, speak of ‘audience engagement’ these days,” writes Marc MacNamara in Tuesday’s (5/19) San Francisco Classical Voice. “Among notable [technological] experiments in this regard, though unsuccessful, was the Concert Companion, invented by Roland Valliere in 2003: ‘I was trying to do for symphony orchestras what audio guides have done for museums: enhance and enrich the experience in real-time.’ … Valliere … is now the CEO of the Memphis Symphony and before that CEO at several other Midwest symphonies, including Kansas City.… The device offered … asynchronous notes, which is what you get in a program guide, and synchronous notes, which is what you get with real-time streaming.… Valliere has come to believe that the Concert Companion was simply ahead of its time … He points to the success of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s use of a mobile app known as LiveNote.… ‘Orchestras tend to be very conservative institutions by design and by necessity and tend to be focused on the day-to-day. But great companies invest in the future and are constantly developing new products, some of which work, some of which don’t.… The key to relevance is meeting people where they are.”

Posted May 21, 2015