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Arts Business Model in the UK?! “Broken”…


I’m back from Milwaukee for the last full week of the DC summer…even though the traffic this morning wouldn’t have led me to believe it wasn’t the fall already. 

A few links, ideas, and other such stuff are in today’s note. 

The boy is on a wings trip right now…

Do me an end-of-summer solid and share this with one person that might find it useful.

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David Micklem writes about the “broken” model of the arts in the UK

Lordy, someone saying the word “broken” and calling for big changes…not just nibbling around the edges. 

When I’m in London in the fall…let’s grab a beer. 

I really like David’s analysis of the situation because I see it so often in so many of the businesses I have been working with lately. 

People are afraid to do anything but nibble around the edges. Unfortunately, what is necessary is radical change because the systems in so many places are broken or hanging on by a thread. 

What does radical change look like? 

  • Asking, “What does success look like?” Then, really digging into it. 
  • Knowing that a lot of your assumptions are built on the idea that the future is going to look like the past. Is that true? Is that safe? Is that the best you can do? 
  • Using the Peter Drucker question of, “If you weren’t already in this business or doing this, would you start it now?” If the answer is “No”…what are you going to do about it? 

Income inequality, low pay, and out-of-control CEO compensation have been things I’ve read about. The highest?

I’ll let you guess. 

But why would you want to change anything about your business model when you get paid 5414x what your average employee gets? 

At the Kelley On Location program in Milwaukee, there was a program about the live music business and the speaker pointed to consolidation and monopoly as a reason artists are struggling and prices are out of control…

What does that look like in practice?

$139M salary while fans complain about the tech, the prices, the glitches, the errors. While artists talk about having cuts taken from their merch sales, harder times booking shows, and on and on…

That’s what consolidation and monopoly look like in action…

Which also was a topic of this conversation with Cory Doctorow on ‘Gaslit Nation’. No matter which way you think your politics lean, Cory’s analysis of the current market and the lack of growth opportunities is worth listening to. 

I’d also encourage y’all to take a look at Cory’s book, Chokepoint Capitalism

Bud Light and launches their NFL campaign: (gift link…loves!) 

I got a question in Milwaukee from a student about the Bud Light situation. 

The reality is that the data on the “boycott” was mixed, at best. 

The data showed that Bud Light sales had been declining for years, over a decade compared to Modelo. 


Bud Light had moved away from brand campaigns towards sales activation and sales-driven everything. 

Meaning, that when they misfired on things like Bud Light Lime or the Bud Light Seltzers that didn’t sell, their overall sales fell as well. 


Because they hadn’t been supporting these endeavors or their core brand with long-term brand-building campaigns…

That’s what this “Easy to…” campaign looks to correct. 

Does it correct the feeling of the brand being “tired” or “your parent’s beer”? 

It doesn’t do it all at once. 

But it does start to move the brand in a better direction towards a beer that is for everyone. 

Which I think is the point that they were attempting to make with the Dylan Mulvaney can. 

But…you can’t just switch it on or off. There needs to be a foundation. That’s what this looks like…a foundation for a stronger brand. 

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