The Jazz Education Network is dedicated to building the jazz arts community by advancing education, promoting performance, and developing new audiences.

Jazz Audiences Initiative

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). JEN announces that it is now the primary repository for JAI data and will work to further this research and facilitate further discussions on this topic.

•  Read letter from the JEN Jazz Audiences Committee Chair, Robert Breithaupt
•  Learn more about JAI
Participate in discussions on LinkedIn
• Access data from the research

A Message from Robert Breithaupt

Dear Friends and Supporters of JEN:

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.  We are excited to announce an important step in this process.

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. 

In addition, JEN has committed to form a new Jazz Audiences Committee, to be comprised of different interest areas on the broad topic of jazz audiences.  This will not be a set of individuals that meets once a year and produces a report, but through planning and website infrastructure, this will be a group that welcomes interaction on many levels.  We are eager to invite many to participate, not just a select few.

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.  Over time, the plan is to create 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.

During this year’s JEN conference in San Diego we will meet as an interest group and being to assign tasks, share information, and develop an agenda for how best to move forward.  In the meantime, I ask that you send me an e-mail if you wish to participate as an active member of this committee.

Below you will see the information that currently appears on the JEN website about the JAI results.

Thank you for your interest in this project and for your continued support of JEN.

Robert Breithaupt
Vice-President, Jazz Education Network (JEN)
Chair, JEN Jazz Audiences Committee

JAI Research Details

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.

Click here to read more about the JAI project and download the corresponding data.

Participate in the Discussion

To continue these important discussions and share resources within the community, JEN will soon host several webinars and discussion boards on social networks. We encourage you to contribute and share in our mission of promoting performance and developing new audiences.

Collaboration Partners

Jazz Arts Group of ColumbusJazz Audiences Initiative