Marketplace - American Public Media

Subscribe to Marketplace - American Public Media feed
Updated: 41 min 36 sec ago

How art institutions are changing their business model

Mon, 2015-01-26 02:00

New data from the National Endowment for the Arts shows attendance for operas, plays, dance and art museums continues to fall.

Just 33 percent of American adults report attending at least one those events in a year. And the people showing up are getting older to boot.

Through a series of reports, the NEA wants to give the industry some more insight into what consumers want, as more institutions are realizing if they want to keep the lights on, it’s time to change the business model.

For example, if you run a symphony, the business model used to be: play gorgeous, amazing music and your audience will come. That strategy doesn’t play anymore, says Brent Reidy with AEA Consulting.

“The reality is that decades ago and centuries ago, art was something that was closer to more people and we need to get back to a place where society understands our value and really embraces us,” he says.

With nearly a third of organizations in the red according to a 2013 survey, some art institutions are taking a closer look at their customers.

As many as 31 million Americans say several factors—including time—kept them away from the opera, or a museum.

So institutions are getting out of the galleries and concert halls and making art more convenient.

At a subway stop in Chicago, the Chicago Opera Theater held a pop-up performance a few years back. In Detroit, weather-proof reproductions of masterworks were placed in neighborhoods. Another way to grow audience is bring new people in.

The Philadelphia Orchestra hosts PlayIN events—really jam sessions—often at one of city’s premier venues. The talented and the beginners all come here to play with the orchestra’s world class musicians.

The idea is to win hearts and minds of people like Makeda Wubayeh, a 12-year old who is new to the scene. 

“Before today, I didn’t really think about coming here. But once I came here there was something about it that was special,” she says.

As important as the experience was for Wubayeh, it won’t pay the bills. For these landmark institutions, professional musician Stanford Thompson says artists must redefine their roles.

“Musicians are citizens and scholars,” he says. “They are artists. These are community leaders. I believe that they are educators, I believe that they are social workers in a way.”

Thompson says what will drive traffic to these institutions is when actors, singers and musicians start stepping off the stage and into struggling schools, to mentor students and teach them to find value in art. 

How art institutions are changing their business model

Mon, 2015-01-26 02:00

New data from the National Endowment for the Arts shows attendance for operas, plays, dance and art museums continues to fall.

Just 33 percent of American adults report attending at least one those events in a year. And the people showing up are getting older to boot.

Through a series of reports, the NEA wants to give the industry some more insight into what consumers want, as more institutions are realizing if they want to keep the lights on, it’s time to change the business model.

For example, if you run a symphony, the business model used to be: play gorgeous, amazing music and your audience will come. That strategy doesn’t play anymore, says Brent Reidy with AEA Consulting.

“The reality is that decades ago and centuries ago, art was something that was closer to more people and we need to get back to a place where society understands our value and really embraces us,” he says.

With nearly a third of organizations in the red according to a 2013 survey, some art institutions are taking a closer look at their customers.

As many as 31 million Americans say several factors—including time—kept them away from the opera, or a museum.

So institutions are getting out of the galleries and concert halls and making art more convenient.

At a subway stop in Chicago, the Chicago Opera Theater held a pop-up performance a few years back. In Detroit, weather-proof reproductions of masterworks were placed in neighborhoods. Another way to grow audience is bring new people in.

The Philadelphia Orchestra hosts PlayIN events—really jam sessions—often at one of city’s premier venues. The talented and the beginners all come here to play with the orchestra’s world class musicians.

The idea is to win hearts and minds of people like Makeda Wubayeh, a 12-year old who is new to the scene. 

“Before today, I didn’t really think about coming here. But once I came here there was something about it that was special,” she says.

As important as the experience was for Wubayeh, it won’t pay the bills. For these landmark institutions, professional musician Stanford Thompson says artists must redefine their roles.

“Musicians are citizens and scholars,” he says. “They are artists. These are community leaders. I believe that they are educators, I believe that they are social workers in a way.”

Thompson says what will drive traffic to these institutions is when actors, singers and musicians start stepping off the stage and into struggling schools, to mentor students and teach them to find value in art. 

This little bitcoin went to market

Mon, 2015-01-26 01:30
25 states

Financial regulators in 25 states have given their blessing to the first ever regulated bitcoin exchange, which opens for trading on Monday. As reported by re/code, the exchange is run by Coinbase, and arrives on the heels of the Winklevoss' — dare we say, Winklevii — announcement that they hoped to open their own regulated exchange for bitcoin.

2 percent

The portion of the 3.5 million jobs added to the economy since mid-2009 that pay between $38,000 and $68,000, no where near the number lost during the recession. In a new series, the Associated Press explores the role of technology plays in "hollowing out" of middle class jobs.

$75 a month

That's how much the FHA estimates homebuyers will save when it lowers the rate it charges to insure mortgages by half a percent. FHA loans are popular with first-time homebuyers because they require a smaller down payment. But some say the change will likely help only some of these home hunting rookies.

11.8 percent

The portion of borrowers using income-based repayment with their federal student loans at the end of last year, nearly doubling the year before. The New York Times' Upshot traces the rise of these types of loans, and how they're combatting the country's record $1.1 trillion in student loan debt.

$1.3 million

That's how much, on average, the top 1 percent of Americans earn a year. But not all 1 percenters are created equal. A new study shows that income gap is narrower in states where wages are rising for the bottom 99 percent.

Tax lobbyists: A growth industry in nation's capital

Fri, 2015-01-23 14:35

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew acknowledged yesterday the differences in viewpoints of Democrats and Republicans on the issue of individual taxes. This came in response to President Obama’s State of the Union in which he proposed raising taxes on the rich and giving the middle class a break. However, when it comes to business, Lew believes we should be able to find a broad set of tax reforms to agree on.

Whatever winds up happening, you can bet there will be a lobbyist pushing for it … or against it. Kelsey Snell has a piece in Politico called “Tax reform dead? Don’t tell the lobbyists.”

Tax lobbying is stronger than ever and has surpassed healthcare lobbying in the past few years.

“It’s been pent-up demand and the conversation has really heated up over the past couple of years,” Snell says. 

A wide range of people want to make sure they get heard on Capitol Hill, and they are spending anywhere from $500 to $100,000 per quarter.

Companies are spending big money on lobbying now, banking on returns far into the future.

“It’s kind of a game of chess here. You’re deciding if you want to invest up front. It’s like buying insurance almost. Say you come out in a bad way in this tax reform. Say you wind up having to pay a couple percent more this year. It’s not just this year. It’s until they decide to write the tax code again and there’s really no certainty as to when that might be,” Snell says.  

Money can buy you less unhappiness

Fri, 2015-01-23 12:52

Maybe once and for all we can settle the whole "can money buy you happiness" conundrum.

The answer, once you do the regression analysis and adjust for other factors, is that having more money does reduce unhappiness, according to a study in the journal "Social Psychology & Personality Science."

But here's the catch: Having more money doesn't increase happiness.

Seems it all revolves around something social scientists call negativity bias, which states that we — being humans — are more likely to remember negative experiences over positive ones.

 

Why Greece stays in the eurozone

Fri, 2015-01-23 12:48

In his last speech of the Greek election campaign, Alexis Tsipras – youthful leader of the far-left Syriza party – rallied  his supporters with fiery rhetoric. “Rise up, raise your fists, end this national humiliation and stop taking orders from abroad,” roared the potential next prime minister of Greece.

His words were aimed at Greek voters as well as the country’s biggest international creditors: the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Tsipras is promising that if he wins power in Sunday’s vote, he will end Greece’s era of austerity. He pledges to roll back some public spending cuts imposed on the country by the EU and the IMF as part of a $280 billion bailout deal and says he will try to renegotiate and soften some terms of the loan agreements. This would put him on a collision course with Europe’s most powerful economy, Germany.

Many Greeks – including those who do not support Tsipras and his Syriza party – agree that the rest of Europe should cut Greece some slack.

“Austerity measures have brought us unemployment, poverty and unbearable social stress. The suicide rate has gone up by 40 percent,” says Dr. Dimitris  Papademetriadis, a psychiatrist. “We believe the debt should be shared among our European partners. Being part of a European family means taking care of each other. That’s what family is all about.”

The trouble is that members of this  family – the eurozone – don’t speak the same language. When the Greek prime minister went to Berlin and asked for “debt relief,” German leader Angela Merkel asked for the phrase to be translated. When it was, she said: “It doesn’t sound so good in German.”

In spite of Merkel’s lack of sympathy for Greece, the Greeks still seem to love the euro.  A total of 92 percent are in favor of the eurozone, according to a recent poll. The mystery of this attachment deepens when you consider the impact of the EU/IMF austerity measures on the Greek economy. Output  has shrunk by a quarter. Unemployment has soared to 27 percent. And 10 percent of Athenians depend on charities for their food.

Many economists argue that Greece’s problems have been exacerbated by eurozone membership because the country has been unable to make itself more competitive by devaluing its own currency . 

Two powerful factors bolster Greek support for continued euro membership. First, many Greeks trust European officials and institutions more than their own politicians. And second, many fear the financial turmoil that crashing out of the single currency would entail. Former government minister Adonis Georgiadis says that exiting the eurozone would  be like trying to change airlines midflight.

“You enter the plane and the plane is in the air, you cannot change your mind.  If you open the door and say: I want to go to the other airline you will be destroyed. This is the euro. We entered. We stay,” he says.

If Syriza gets its hands on the controls in Sunday’s election, it could be one bumpy ride.

 

SkyMall files for bankruptcy. Blame your phone.

Fri, 2015-01-23 11:19

If you are someone who likes to hop a flight, kick back in your seat and start thumbing through a SkyMall catalog know this: Those days may be numbered.  

With shrinking sales, SkyMall's parent company filed for Chapter 11. Turns out, the retailer famous for its Bigfoot Garden Yeti and other odd and assorted goods is facing too much competition from cellphones and tablets.  

Click play above to hear more about this story

Was the Box IPO worth the wait?

Fri, 2015-01-23 11:18

The first big tech IPO of the year happened Friday: Box, best known for enterprise cloud storage services, debuted on the New York Stock Exchange. At closing, shares were up nearly 66% from a starting price of $14. It was a good day for the company, but a day that was originally scheduled to happen last spring. Why does a company delay an IPO?

UPS delivers on holiday orders – and hurts itself

Fri, 2015-01-23 11:16

UPS is warning that its earnings will fall short for the fourth quarter of last year, mostly because the company overcompensated for the shipping woes of 2013, when it delivered a surge of last-minute packages after Christmas.

For 2014, it hired more workers and invested in more equipment than was needed to handle what turned out to be an easier Christmas shipping season. E-commerce is a bigger part of UPS’ business now, and it is also hard to forecast. Will cost-cutting hurt performance next year?

Click play above to hear more from this story

Will global temperature rise inspire a behavior shift?

Fri, 2015-01-23 09:42

Last year, the world experienced a significant jump -- a rise in global temperature...

2014 was the hottest year on record, and just this week, a group of scientists moved the hands on the Doomsday Clock -- that's when mankind wipes out our own existence at midnight --- to 11:57 pm. That's the closest the clock has been to midnight since the height of the cold war.

One of the main reasons behind the move is climate change. 

But it's still hard to get people to act differently, especially when the consequences for inaction seem so far off in the future. For politicians, creating policy that causes pain in the present and not seeing the payoff directly can seem like a bad decision. 

To explain some of the leaps that global governments and populations have to take to slow and stop climate change, we spoke to Ann Carlson, the co-director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA Law.

Listen to the whole segment in the player above. 

The leap not taken: Wage growth

Fri, 2015-01-23 09:36

Despite creating more jobs, wages are still flat. Median household income in the US is lower now than it was fifteen years ago, and over the last year, the average hourly wage only rose 40 cents. 

So how do we make a leap towards higher wages, as a country? Heather Boushey, executive director at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth joined Marketplace Weekend to talk about how to increase wages, and what's holding us back. 

Listen to the whole segment in the audio player above. 

Your Wallet: Financial Crash

Fri, 2015-01-23 08:42

What goes up must come down. Or hit a brick wall. We're talking crashes.

If you have a story about about a time your personal economy crashed, tell us. What happened? How did you make it through?

Send us an email, or reach us on Twitter, @MarketplaceWKND

Will Greek voters make a great leap?

Fri, 2015-01-23 08:21

Greek voters are about to make a great leap. Maybe.

Polls suggest that elections this Sunday could bring to power a hard-left party called Syriza

which wants to end the so-called “austerity measures” – the swingeing curbs on public spending rigorously enforced by the outgoing government for years.

Syriza also wants to renegotiate the terms of a bailout Greece got from the IMF and EU.

Quite a shift from the policy of the outgoing government led by the center-right New Democracy Party, which has been careful to play nice with Greece’s creditors.

Lizzie O'Leary spoke to Marketplace’s Stephen Beard in Athens. 

The leap second, deep space and how we keep time

Fri, 2015-01-23 08:12

You may have heard on the news or the internet about a very, very small leap that's coming. It's the leap second. Yeah, not year. Second.

On June 30th, all clocks around the world will add one second to their time. Why? The short version is that it brings clocks into sync with the movement of the earth.

For centuries we've measured time based on how the earth revolves around the sun. But the way our planet moves is weird. Earth wobbles, and sometimes solar time gets strays from the much more precise, human-made measurement: atomic time.

The solution? Every few years add or subtract a second on atomic clocks to bring everything back into alignment. The Paris Observatory, home to the International Earth Rotation and References Systems Service, determines when a leap second will be added -- when atomic time is .6 seconds or more off from solar time on earth. Since 1972, there have been 25 leap seconds.

To most people, a leap second is a pretty small thing. But for machines and computers, it can cause big problems... when all of a sudden there's an extra second in a minute, a computing clock's entire world can be thrown out of whack. In 1998, the leap second caused cell phone outages. In 2012, it lead to crashes on websites that ran on Linux and Java -- Mozilla, Reddit, Foursquare, Yelp, LinkedIn, and StumbleUpon all reported leap second-related issues. 

Some critics worry about problems with navigation, or energy. But it turns out that if you prepare for a leap second, it's fairly manageable. Google planned for the 2012 second with a workaround that it called a "leapsmear," introducing the leap by the millisecond so that it wasn't even noticable. Apple seems to have fared similarly well.

And for NASA, a company for which time, down to the second, and even the nanosecond, is crucial, the leap second is no big deal. At NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratories in California, researchers spend a lot of time thinking about, well, time. Robert Tjoelker, co-investigator on NASA's Deep Space Atomic Clock Mission, says that their master clock system is "carefully designed to accommodate the leap second."

Their enormous master clock in California, one of three around the world, even has a box to mark the leap second. Once the leap second is initiated, the clock will add time, nanosecond by nanosecond, so there's no change in the timing system's continuity.

"Atomic clocks on the GPS satellites have to be very reliable, and have to be very accurate, because you're building a navigation system that is used everywhere on the earth," Tjoelker says, "similarly, in space, we could not track our spacecraft if we didn't accommodate the leap second."

In unexplored areas of deep space, like the places the deep space atomic clock will eventually go, these second, and teeny, tiny fractions of seconds, make a big difference. 

"There are no signposts when you travel in deep space, and so the only mechanism, really, for navigation, is sending signals back and forth between the spacecraft."

NASA wants to launch atomic clocks into deep space to improve their navigation systems and communications between earth and space. The deep space atomic clock that they're building at JPL is advanced enough to speed up communications times by double, because instead of sending signals back and forth, it will send them directly from the spacecraft to earth.

And even that clock, one of the most sensitive, accurate clocks in the universe, will account for the leap second. 

There's still some pushback about the leap second, but Tjoelker says that as long as changes to universal time are transparent and widely known, there shouldn't be any problems. It's not necessarily the leap second throwing computer systems off, it's preparedness. 

Tjoelker says that for his team at JPL, whether or not the leap second is abolished doesn't matter too much, as long as everyone is aware. "This was an arbitrary definition based upon international agreements, it is just a construct of time, just as time zones are, daylight savings time... the actual offset of time is relative and the main goal of time synchronization is that everybody's clocks are ticking together."

Quiz: New majority in public-school classrooms

Fri, 2015-01-23 07:55

More than half of children in public schools come from low-income families, according to the Southern Education Foundation.

var _polldaddy = [] || _polldaddy; _polldaddy.push( { type: "iframe", auto: "1", domain: "marketplaceapm.polldaddy.com/s/", id: "new-majority-public-school-classrooms", placeholder: "pd_1422032694" } ); (function(d,c,j){if(!document.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src=('https:'==document.location.protocol)?'https://polldaddy.com/survey.js':'http://i0.poll.fm/survey.js';s=document.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);}}(document,'script','pd-embed'));

PODCAST: Retirement lost in the shuffle

Fri, 2015-01-23 03:00

First up on today's show, the U.S. dollar triumphant, but for whom? Plus, more now on the death of Saudi King Abdullah at the age of 90. With its influence in financial markets, the succession of power there being watched carefully by market participants. And with all the back and forth about President Obama's hope to raise capital gains taxes for some Americans to provide relief for some middle class taxpayers, a White House proposal to change the 401k and IRA retirement system has gotten lost in the shuffle.

India's air pollution problem

Fri, 2015-01-23 02:30

The last time President Barack Obama made a major state visit to Asia was last year when he met with Chinese president Xi Jinping and announced a broad-reaching climate change deal.

We shouldn't expect the same thing from his visit to India, even though its cities have air that's four times deadlier than in Beijing. But how does India’s environmental pollution stack up, and what might the U.S. do to curb greenhouse gas emissions there?

Click the media player above to hear more.

New effort ranks drug-makers by impact

Fri, 2015-01-23 02:00

Pharmaceutical companies have one very obvious reason to avoid developing drugs and vaccines for infectious diseases like malaria and tuberculosis: There’s basically no money in it.

That’s because most people with those conditions are poor and have little means to pay. So what kind of incentive do you need to get drug makers to take on global health epidemics? The answer may be a new index that ranks companies by who has the most effective drugs.

Click the media player above to hear more.

Silicon Tally: A bird? A plane? No, it's Crystal Meth!

Fri, 2015-01-23 02:00

It's time for Silicon Tally! How well have you kept up with the week in tech news.

This week, we're joined by Harry Campbell, whose experience as a driver for Lyft, Uber and Sidecar fuels both his blog and podcast known as The Rideshare Guy.

var _polldaddy = [] || _polldaddy; _polldaddy.push( { type: "iframe", auto: "1", domain: "marketplaceapm.polldaddy.com/s/", id: "silicon-tally-bird-plane-meth", placeholder: "pd_1422015248" } ); (function(d,c,j){if(!document.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src=('https:'==document.location.protocol)?'https://polldaddy.com/survey.js':'http://i0.poll.fm/survey.js';s=document.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);}}(document,'script','pd-embed'));

Greece prepares to vote; Eurozone worries

Fri, 2015-01-23 02:00

Voters casting their ballots in this weekend's general election in Greece know that much is at stake. A radical, far-left party called Syriza is leading in the polls. It's promising to roll back the deep public spending cuts imposed by the outgoing government and renegotiate Greece’s $280 billion bailout deal. Such moves would have big repercussions for the European economy and the global economy, too.

Despite the high stakes, the campaign here has lacked razzmatazz and the mood is subdued. Conservative politician Adonis Georgiadis, however, doesn't pull his punches when he talks about  the possibility of a Syriza victory. 

"If they win, we will be bankrupt within a month, maybe," he says.

Georgadis, a former minister in  the outgoing government, warns that Syriza’s plans to unpick the carefully-negotiated deal on Greece’s bailout would lead to the country defaulting and being expelled from the Eurozone:

"Unfortunately, it's a big possibility and it will destroy us. Two months. I have totally no doubt about it." he says.

But Syriza’s chief economist Yiannis Milios argues that austerity measures and crippling loan repayments are already destroying Greece. He says some 60 percent of young Greeks are without work and that has to change. He doesn't believe recent reports saying the Germans would rather see Greece default and leave the euro than renegotiate the bailout.

"They're bluffing" he says.

Former minister Adonis Georgiadis thinks Syriza is making a dangerous mistake. The Germans, he warns, never bluff.

Bluffing or not, Germany must respect the democratic will of the Greek people, says Syriza candidate and economist Yanis Varoufakis. He predicts that if  Greece is forced out of the Eurozone, the currency union will ultimately fragment and collapse.

"When one third of the world economy—that’s Europe—implodes in this way as the result of the fragmentation of the Eurozone, we’re going to be facing a post-modern 1930’s," he says.

Right now, the prospect of a euro collapse, let alone a 1930’s Depression, still seems remote. But the potentially massive repercussions of this weekend's election in a small corner of Europe is one more risk for the world to worry about.

 

Pages