“When we first started working with Resonance we had some objectives in mind that might help improve our business operations. We never anticipated that they would help us transform the scope of what we do by combining and making more efficient so many different aspects of our work. To have everything on one platform that’s easy for us to maintain and train our many different groups of users has been transformative and allows us the space to dream of what might be next.” -Brady Walsh, Associate Director | The Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition
The Laffont Competition within the prestigious Metropolitan Opera organization in NYC has served as an esteemed discovery pool for up-and-coming operatic performers to gain recognition at the highest level. Since its inception in 1954, organizers of the event have largely relied on spreadsheets to maintain and manage all of their operational information, from data and communications.
On the most basic level, one of the most pressing needs of the leadership team at the Metropolitan Laffont Competition, known more casually as the “Met Laffont” group, was establishing a singular portal for applicants across all of North America to submit their materials for consideration. To take it a step further, a portal that allowed judges to efficiently view applicants and push them further along the process if necessary.
The Met Laffont competition wasn’t united under a single system, meaning that the over 1,500 contributing members – from panelists, judges, singers, and volunteers – were all utilizing different portals, links, or workflows to contribute to, apply to, or manage their varied efforts.
They lacked not only a unified system for applicants to submit and judges to, well, judge, they also needed a system that could handle and organize a high volume of data from a multitude of sources. Something that allowed comments from multiple parties with different levels of access and allowed easy communication throughout the process.
On the management side, the competition was operating on a completely decentralized system that prevented them from thoughtfully managing a competition that spanned the entire country. Emails, attachments, spreadsheets, and phone calls served as their entire organizational infrastructure. Applications were collected through the Met website, then PDF’d via email, which served as an unofficial database.
Existing servers on the larger Metropolitan Opera website only provided some Met Laffont volunteers limited access to limited data, meaning there was no cohesive or centralized system to unite various groups operating throughout the country. They also had no way of adjusting these permissions and no control over administrative access.
What they needed was a unified system that could be adopted just as easily by applicants, often singers in their 20’s, as it could be by volunteers, often industry veterans in their 70’s and 80’s. This demanded a level of natural intuitiveness if there was any hope for company-wide embracing.
One of the most helpful starting points in Met Laffont’s partnership with Resonance was the fact that Resonance leaders were from the professional music industry. They possessed not just a familiarity with the competition itself but the needs of both applicants and competition managers, as well as the often-lacking tools at both their disposals.
Their partnership was based on an organic collaboration of Met Laffont leaders putting together their wishlist for an ideal centralized platform and Resonance actually converting that into accessible, intuitive, and efficient software tools. Not only was Resonance able to convert all of their ideas into tangible solutions, but they were able to provide realistic deadlines and thoroughly explain how these various tools functioned so that Met Laffont users could ultimately understand and manage them independently.
In short: they provided high-tech solutions without bogging them down in tech speak. Resonance spoke their language and took the time to explain the specifics of what things meant and how they worked. They remained hands-on while also empowering every user with their own autonomy.
With weekly meetings and daily communication, the Resonance team provided constant support that proved they weren’t simply solving problems but were genuinely committed to Met Laffont’s mission. Resonance didn’t deliver tools and walk away; they continued to learn how to make them better and customize them according to feedback.
The more they worked together, the more Met Laffont leaders realized that Resonance was solving problems they didn’t even know they had. Who knew scheduling could be this easy? Or shared comments? Or application submission? Or data management? Resonance’s help became far more impactful than they initially realized was possible, and they became indispensable as tech partners and collaborators.
One year into a fruitful partnership, Met Laffont is still discovering all the ways that Resonance's platform has positively changed the way they do business and continuing to optimize the way they operate across the nation.
It’s a business database. Project management solution. A job opportunity and listing directory. A content management system. An arts organization manager. An arts social media channel. An arts Eventbrite page. What began as a replacement for Excel has grown into a vital nucleus of their entire business.
The ever-evolving deliverable has exceeded all expectations in terms of what Met Laffont leaders originally told their volunteers it would do. The original goal was to centralize internal admin efforts. Today, it’s being used “by everyone for everything.”
For events, it manages and organizes 50 unique audition days all under one digital roof, whereas there were previously 50 unique pages, efforts, and spreadsheets. Before they needed to create unique programs for each and every performance, whereas now they’re able to automatically generate a branded PDF with all relevant information. It’s also become a financial tool that accepts and manages donations.
So many disparate efforts that used to be managed in silos are now fully streamlined, and what would’ve required the full-time effort of one or more additional employees is now automated and provides the organization a level of polish and efficiency they didn’t know they could attain.
Resonance has become a centralized interface for personnel and administrative management, a truly one-stop-shop for admin operations, personnel management, data collection, and anything else you need to onboard staff and manage submissions. With its limitless versatility, it’s become a singular operational management tool that works just as well for a freelancer as it does for large enterprises.
Met Laffont leaders say their job descriptions today are completely different than they were a year ago, in a world before Resonance. They now have eyes on everything in a way that was impossible beforehand, offering boundless resources they continue to tap into.
It’s also dramatically improved their relationship with singers and program officers alike, who they now know more intimately and communicate with more freely than was possible before. It’s as simple as having photos and details next to a name, small flourishes that allow leaders to know their people on a more authentic level.
Now, Met Laffont leaders can spend less time on administrative tasks and more time creating and working for the artists whose careers they work so hard to bolster.