A Tale of Four Cities
|Organisation||The Jazz Development Trust (JazzDev)|
|Region/location||London/Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester|
|Programme strand||Sample the Arts|
|New Audiences grant||£38,507|
A Tale of Four Cities was an action research project which aimed to identify ways of increasing jazz audiences in Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester.
The Jazz Development Trust worked in association with promoters and Morris Hargreaves McIntyre (MHM) to produce a report. The findings of this research were then disseminated at a one-day conference in Manchester.
about lead organisation
The Jazz Development Trust – JAZZDEV was established in 1998 with a three year grant from the Foundation for Sport & the Arts. Its mission statement is to improve the position of British jazz and jazz in Britain, by developing the audience for jazz through greater jazz access, participation and education for the general public, young people and music teachers, decision makers, opinion forming bodies and the media.
Although jazz has been one of the major musical developments in the twentieth century the infrastructure for jazz is under developed. Many jazz promoters work on a voluntary basis with limited financial resources and without access to sophisticated methods of data capture such as computerised box office systems. Information about audiences has typically relied on informal methods such as observation at events and mailing slips placed on tables at performances. JAZZDEV wanted address the lack of knowledge about jazz audiences by working in partnership with regional marketing agencies to undertake research into jazz audiences in addition to carrying out test marketing campaigns to find new ways of developing future audiences.
aims of the project
- To increase the audience for jazz in Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester
- To increase the frequency of attendance amongst existing attenders
- To achieve a better understanding of audiences, their attitudes and motivations to attend
- Establish what the barriers to attendance are and overcome these barriers and attract new audiences
about the project
The project began with a series of audience research initiatives. Surveys of 300 existing attenders and 400 potential attenders from the target cities were undertaken. Representatives from both of these sectors then took part in focus groups. The project also interviewed 94 Industry professionals to ascertain how they tackled perceived barriers to audience attendance.
The results of the research were disseminated at a one day conference "How to develop audiences for jazz.Or Die" in Manchester on 16 June 2000. The conference fee was kept low to encourage attendance from volunteer promoters.
A series of test marketing campaigns were also undertaken in three of the four cities:
In Birmingham direct mail was used to promote a performance at MAC. Existing and potential jazz attenders were targeted with publicity material which had been specially designed to promote both the performance and give detailed information about the facilities available at the venue in a “no frills”, easy to understand format.
In Manchester the Band on the Wall and the Royal Exchange Theatre used Teleprompt a free telephone listings service.
E-prompt a listings service using email was trailed in Leeds.
about the audience
- 150 delegates including small scale promoters, broadcasters, journalists, funders and representatives from record labels attended the one day conference
- Attendance at the MAC performance in Birmingham increased by 10% as a result of the direct mailing
- 89% of the attenders targeted via the Teleprompt found the information useful. Attendance increased from 8% to 18% after one call
outcomes and lessons learned
Although the hoped for collaborations with the regional marketing agencies did not materialise the test campaigns succeeded in increasing audiences who responded to prompts and new marketing methods.
The interviews of key industry professionals and the research by MHM concluded that key barriers to attendance included negative perceptions of jazz music and jazz venues; lack of information about events and inconsistent programming which could be addressed with initiatives such as better quality marketing, increasing the focus on the audience and introducing potential attenders by integrating jazz into formal music education.
The project succeeded as a starting point, demonstrating that jazz audiences do respond to audience development initiatives.