The audience problem

We have a contradictory problem in the arts: We sell more tickets than ever, but we are more and more dependent on programming to sell those tickets. The capacity (Auslastung) problem for normal performances cannot be consistently solved with single ticket sales or outreach programs. Moreover, flexible subscriptions do not do the job; flexible subscribers mainly pick popular performances that would have sold out anyway, leaving challenging-to-sell performances as empty as always. Without enough fixed subscriptions, audience numbers will always vary greatly throughout the season.

Why subscriptions still work

When core principles such as The Audience Member Life Cycle, The Arts Management Mixing Board, and The Investment Model of Fixed Subscriptions are properly understood, it becomes clear why fixed subscriptions still work. Add in the right goals and purposes, organizational infrastructure and team, competence and accountability, money and time – and suddenly, selling out is only a question of time.

Organizations already sold out

• Argovia Philharmonic
• Gävle Symphony Orchestra
• Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
• Royal Dramatic Theater, Stockholm
• Tonhalle Düsseldorf

The Power of Selling Out

Selling out is not a goal in itself. What we truly want is the control and momentum that results as a byproduct of selling out a whole season. Organizations we have worked with naturally talk about the financial benefits, but are really excited about the operational ones. When you know, by May, that the next season will only present a handful of challenges, there suddenly exists a new peace of mind. Instead of putting out fires, you can focus on the long term. Success breeds success, and new opportunities appear when artists, sponsors, decision makers, staff and critics are inspired. Most importantly, you simply have much more freedom to program the way you truly want.


The Power of Selling Out is our new online program. Since launching the book Fill Every Seat in 2016, the new demand has caused us to postpone collaborations with over 100 organizations. With this new program, you can now quickly and in-depth learn the key principles and strategies necessary for success with subscriptions. With a StillArt Project Manager by your side, the program is beneficial as a stand-alone program. It can also prepare you for StillArt’s advanced Subscription Builder programs.

Subscription Builder Classic is our 3 year program that has already helped 26 organizations generate more than 10.000 subscribers and over 5 million€ in increased revenue. In our Classic program, you set the goal and pace of the project.

Subscription Builder Pro focuses on selling out fast. This is largely a “done for you” program where we provide the entire process from copywriting and design, advanced data management and printing, to managing the mailing and taking the orders. Typically StillArt actually also pays for your marketing investments. Essentially, we deliver a list of new subscribers to you whom you can invite to your new season.


What you will learn?

To give more organizations an effective way to learn how to be successful with subscriptions, we are launching the new online program The Power of Selling Out.

• The 7 Core Principles to create long-term success
• The 4 Core Marketing Approaches to successfully sell subscriptions
• The Ideal Subscription Level Calculator, a core StillArt tool used continuously throughout a project
• A data protection checkup from a marketing perspective

How it works & what’s included?

• 12 week educational program
• Your own Membership Site
• The Power of Selling Out workbook
• Personal Support from a StillArt Project Manager
• Clear assignments that you can run with your team so your whole organization learns
• You know if StillArt’s Subscription Builder Program, the next step, is for you and if you are eligible to apply

Who can benefit?

• Organizations and individuals that want to deepen their understanding around how to be truly successful with subscriptions
• Organizations that want to prepare for full-size Subscription Builder Programs

How to apply?

• Program costs 3.500€
• Deadline for Cohort 1 is 31.12.2018


What are the criteria for qualification?

We are launching a new program so we are primarily looking for organizations that are stable, already have subscriptions and are looking to possibly join Subscription Builder Classic or Pro in autumn 2019 (working for 20/21 season). For the program, it is great if we have 4 relatively different organizations we work with: size, genre(s), developmental stage etc.

What does the application process look like?

30 Nov – Application deadline for DOT-offer
31 Dec – Final deadline for Cohort 1
1-31 Jan – Possible interviews
28 Feb – Applicants are informed if they are accepted to the program
31 March – Payment deadline for the program
15 May – Start

What happens with the information I supply?

The information you share will only be shared with the StillArt Subscription Advisory Board and will only be used during the application process.

Subscription Growth

Argovia Philharmonic, Switzerland
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Norway
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra - The National Orchestra of Sweden
Gävle Symphony Orchestra, Sweden
Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Sweden
Luleå House of Culture, Sweden
Netherlands Symphony Orchestra
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir
Tapiola Sinfonietta, Finland
The Residentie Orkest, The Netherlands
Tonhalle Düsseldorf, Germany
Vara Concert House, Sweden


“The work we have done with Magnus Still has been compelling across all Tonhalle departments. The system is logical, easy to understand and practically oriented, and the ongoing support of Magnus is very attentive and cooperative. The initial results of our subscription collaboration have already resulted in an increase of 70% in subscriptions and 35% in concert visits, which is immensely gratifying for all parties involved: the backstage crew, the artists and the finances.”

Michael Becker, Intendant Tonhalle Düsseldorf Düsseldorfer Symphoniker

“The StillArt approach is just what arts organizations need at this time. It’s pragmatic, innovative, trustworthy, and driven by a genuine desire to share the thrill of great performances with more people. And they produce the goods! With my personal experience of working with them, I am very happy to offer my recommendation. Their work with the GSO encouraged us to think creatively, challenged our thinking, and dared us to do things differently.”

Ed Smith Managing and Artistic Director Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra CEO of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra CEO of Toronto Symphony

“The major benefit of having a lot of subscribers in the hall is (1) you can plan long term, (2) you don’t have to worry about sales figures for each individual concert, (3) the word of mouth subscribers spread. Well I could say 4, 5 etc … It gives us a very well planned marketing department. AND it also gets us good sleep at night.”

Urban Ward Communication Director Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra

“We are currently working our way through StillArt’s extensive mapping process. What gives me confidence that this collaboration will be of value is based not only on their clear competence, but also in their genuine interest in and understanding of how our organization actually works. Knowing that we will only compensate for actual results also makes me feel as if we are truly on the same team.”

Katrin Winkelmann Marketing, Finance and Communication, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra

“I have followed Magnus Still’s work for many years and have collaborated with him on subscription growth on two big projects with different orchestras. The result has been above and beyond expectations. Still’s system is simple but well balanced and efficient. Just what we all need.”

Helena Wessman General Manager at Berwaldhallen – Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir, Former CEO and Artistic Director at the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra

“After 36 plus years as a CEO and another 10 years as a COO to symphony orchestras and operas, my recommendation is to skip conferences and workshops for the next three years, and instead put the time and effort toward a StillArt collaboration.”

Robert C. Jones Former CEO of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Opera Pacific, Washington DC National Symphony Orchestra, and VP Music John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, current StillArt Senior Advisor

Please contact us via for any additional questions.