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Jazz Audience Initiative Update from the Jazz Arts Group

by Mark Subel on December 20, 2010

The Jazz Arts Group is the lead organization for JAI, having received a $200,000 grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to support this project. The Duke funding has allowed us to leverage several thousand more dollars from the Ohio Arts Council, the Greater Columbus Arts Council, and The Columbus Foundation to support this groundbreaking research for JAG and the field of jazz.

In this communication, you will find information about:

* A general overview of the Jazz Audiences Initiative
o Overview of the Music Listening Study and Webinar Opportunity
o Literature Review
o Status of the Market Segmentation Research on Current Jazz Ticket Buyers

JAI Overview:

JAI has been designed to study fundamental questions about how and why people engage with jazz. The main goal is for us to learn new ideas for engaging audiences, and infusing the art form with new energy.

JAI is the catalyst for:

1. Collecting and analyzing attitudes and behaviors of jazz ticket buyers across the U.S.
2. Examining music preferences and concert-attendance trends in central Ohio
3. Developing and testing new strategies for engaging more people with all kinds of jazz experiences
4. Generating ideas for meaningful involvement opportunities (programs, venues) that speak to a larger constituency, and eliminate barriers to participation
5. Developing and testing the persuasiveness of new messages/language designed to motivate current and potential jazz audiences
6. Creating a community of learning for jazz professionals to support ongoing dissemination of information and the implementation of effective new ideas and practices.

Music Listening Study:

This exploratory study, conducted by Dr. Joe Heimlich, OSU Extension, began with the intention of learning how people label different forms of music, the language they use to describe different music, and how they discuss what they hear. We were hoping to identify common language that could inform the market segmentation study process. We have planning a public webinar for early 2011, hosted by Jerry Yoshitomi and Dr. Heimlich, for those who are interested in this work. The call will allow interested partners to share reactions to the data and ask clarifying questions.

Forty-seven people participated in the survey ranging in age from 23 to 72. Individual 45-minute interviews began with questions about the person’s interest in music and prior musical experience or training. The person then listened to several 90-second cuts of different types of music, out of a possible 63 cuts representing a variety of musical genres.
Literature Review:

Though not part of our original plan, we determined in January 2010 that the research process would benefit from the creation of a literature review to bring together insights from many academic and practitioner sources. Bijan Warner, a graduate of the University of Chicago, was hired to conduct this review.

While academic research on arts participation offers several insights into ways of thinking about jazz audiences, there are few studies that address vital questions (see above) for developing jazz audiences. This literature review was conducted with a broad scope to highlight the accessible information on jazz audiences, and is not a final authority on the question of how to promote jazz audiences.

We’re planning to host a brief webinar in the near future about this work. And, once posted on our website we encourage you to add to discuss and add to the body of knowledge.

Market Segmentation Research on Current Jazz Ticket Buyers

The National Survey of Jazz Audiences was launched electronically in August to a random sample of several thousand jazz ticket buyers across the country. Respondents were asked questions about: 1) types of arts activities they participate in; 2) their feelings about jazz; 3) venues and environments they like to attend; 4) knowledge of artists; and 5) thoughts about how they anticipate engaging with music in the future. This survey was in the field through October 2010 and data collection has now closed.

National Research Partners with JAG for the Jazz Ticket Buyer Survey:

* Jazz St. Louis
* Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York City
* San Francisco Jazz
* Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs
* Consortium of 13 University Presenters w/Jazz Ticket Buyers
o University of Pennsylvania – Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
o University of Iowa – Hancher Auditorium
o University of Illinois – Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
o University of California, Davis – Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts
o Penn State Center for the Performing Arts
o Stanford Lively Arts
o University of Texas at Austin – Texas Performing Arts
o University of Arizona – UApresents
o University of Maryland – Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
o University of Minnesota – Northrop
o UMS
o University of Florida Performing Arts
o The Ohio State University – Wexner Center for the Arts
o Monterey Jazz Festival
o Scullers Jazz Club, Boston

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