—Robert Breithaupt, Vice President, Jazz Education Network
One of the constant themes heard over and over is how the “jazz audience” is shrinking; it is aging; there is limited industry support, and many other dire and often accurate statements. However, the music continues to be vibrant, creative and exciting. And, when individuals are introduced to jazz in its myriad forms, they come away with a new appreciation and love of the music.
WE know the power of jazz and how it can transform listeners, young and old, into engaged fans and ambassadors. As educators, performers, and advocates, it is the jazz community that will most effectively tell the story. However, our “community” is frequently splintered into factions that are stymied by the seemingly insurmountable task of promoting the music and finding common ground where important knowledge about audiences, both existing and potential, can be obtained.
Jazz is an ecosystem. The performers, educators, media, institutions, venues, and many other partners need information to be able to form decisions and strategies that will move the music forward.
The Jazz Education Network has committed, since it’s inception, to assist in this effort.
In August 2011, the Jazz Arts Group of Columbus (JAG) released the findings of a two-year national market study for jazz called the Jazz Audiences Initiative (JAI).
JAI was the first research project of its kind to explore and collect attitudinal psychographic data about how and why people engage with jazz. In some cases, the findings confirmed long held assumptions about the behaviors of current and potential ticket buyers. In other cases, the data revealed new information that is critical for helping current and prospective audiences experience jazz in meaningful and exciting ways, allowing presenters, producers and musicians to sell more tickets and product.
JEN is now the primary repository for JAI data and will work to further this research and facilitate further discussions on this topic.
Through the cooperation of a number of individuals, particularly the Jazz Arts Group of Columbus (JAG) from Columbus, Ohio, JEN has become the primary repository of the Jazz Audience Initiative (JAI) data, the largest collection of research ever assembled on jazz audiences, funded by a variety of partners, established with two foundational gifts by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF). This data includes jazz audience member’s interests, psychographics, listening habits, and many other factors that can be used by those with the “ecosystem” noted above.
Collecting, publishing and creating the website for this information was no small task, and the files on our website are just the beginning of the process. To simply post information does not give the discussion ongoing value to the field. We are creating discussion groups, encourage interaction, and provide the ability to post both new research, but also to feature an informal exchange of thought, all toward the goal of expanding the jazz audience.
Not everyone will agree on what is the perfect way to promote the music, or even how we define the word “jazz.” The diversity of the music and those who consume it is the beauty of the medium. There is nothing that supports the old adage, “a rising tide raises all boats” than those who support jazz to find better methods to bring it to a wider audience.
We encourage you to contribute and share in our mission of promoting performance and developing new audiences.
To continue these important discussions and share resources within the community, JEN hosts webinars and discussion boards on social networks.
Send an e-mail if you wish to participate as an active member of this committee to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This data includes jazz audience member’s interests, psychographics, listening habits, and many other factors that can be used by those with the “ecosystem” noted above.Read more