Jazz Audiences Initiative

The Jazz Audiences Initiative (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.

Photo by Cherie Hansson

Phase One: The Project

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.


A core value of the project, since beginning in November 2009, was a commitment to collaborate and share learning across not only the jazz sector, but for all performing arts genres. Practitioners benefitted tremendously by sharing new/best practices and strategic tools that will ultimately be part of the legacy of this work.  Extensive documentation and analysis of the initial JAI project appears within the documents.


Phase Two: Collaborative Research

In a second phase of the JAI project, throughout 2012 and early 2013 JAG worked closely with five organizations across the country that are presenters/producers of jazz events in various locations. This work was funded by a DDCF Continuing Innovations grant, and was an expansion of the initial JAI work.

In the DDCF Continuing Innovation proposal, JAG focused the theory-to-practice experiments on two themes:

  1. Ways to Sustain Presenting and Producing in Smaller Venues
  2. Ways to Leverage Story, Context, and Messaging for Deeper Engagement

Exploring Questions

Based on the JAI findings, the Jazz Arts Group was interested in exploring the following questions in greater detail:

  1. What is the new sustainable business model for presenting in small or unusual venues?
  2. What kinds of partnerships can be created between traditional jazz presenters and producers who program large halls, and smaller, even commercial venues?
  3. Is the venue more important than the artist?
  4. What factors make a venue feel intimate?
  5. In what ways can existing spaces be adapted to feel more intimate?
  6. What is the artist’s role in creating an intimate performance?
  7. What will the next generation jazz space look like?

Anticipated Outcomes

Prior to implementation of all experiments, desired outcomes were clarified, as well as developing measures and evaluation tools for use at the aggregate and local levels. Partners learned effective ways to collect meaningful data that either supported or disproved their hypothesis. This data-driven approach pinpointed strengths and weaknesses of each experiment, allowing for future enhancements or course corrections.

Anticipated outcomes included:

  1. Engagement of new and/or younger audiences
  2. Employing local/regional jazz artists
  3. Creating a “bank” of language and images for each market segment
  4. Pilot testing a new business model for making smaller-scale programming sustainable.

Download the Data - Final Reports

Download the Data

Below, you will find the official data that was created as a result of the JAI research. Feel free to download, reference, use, and share it as appropriate.

Please be sure to reference JEN as the official depository of the data, and credit all sources as appropriate.

Final Reports:

  • Ticket Buyer Study Executive Summary –  Key observation and summaries of surveying current and prospective jazz ticket buyers; Provides insights into artist discovery, concert attendance patterns, and surprising information about consumers’ interests in musical form and history
  • Literature Review of Research on Jazz Audiences –  A comprehensive detail and summary of existing research and literature, including demographics, observations on why people listen to jazz, brain research and psychology, proprietary research on audiences
  • Prospect Segmentation Report – Regenerating the Jazz Audience: A Segmentation Analysis of Jazz “Prospects” in Central Ohio
  • Ticket Buyer Report – Results from a Multi-Site Survey of Jazz Ticket Buyers and Prospects
  • Listening Study Final Report.pdf – Comprehensive music listening study
  • APAP Connect The Dots Article –  An article about the 2012 APAP conference and the conversations surrounding jazz audiences
  • Future of Music – A list of resources from the Future of Music Coalition, which serves to be informative and help to create discussion, debate and actionable items
  • National Endowment for the Arts – New findings about why people attend the arts

JAI Ticket Buyer Study

Key observation and summaries surveying current and prospective jazz ticket buyers.


Ticket Buyer Report

Results from a Multi-Site Survey of Jazz Ticket Buyers and Prospects


Literature Review of Research
on Jazz Audiences

A comprehensive detail and summary of existing research and literature.


Prospect Segmentation Report

Regenerating the Jazz Audience: A Segmentation Analysis of Jazz “Prospects” in Central Ohio


Listening Study Final Report

Comprehensive music listening study


APAP Connect the Dots Article

An article about the 2012 APAP conference and the conversations surrounding jazz audiences.


Future of Music

A list of resources from the Future of Music Coalition.


National Endowment for the Arts

Findings about why people attend the arts.