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Published on July 21st, 2011 | by Tara George

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Developing Jazz and Classical Audiences with Technology

Technology in the Arts is pleased to present our new white paper Online Audience Engagement: Strategies for Developing Jazz and Classical Audiences, spearheaded by writer Tara George.

OAEMany of you may remember critic Terry Teachout’s controversial Wall Street Journal article that asked if jazz could “be saved?” Teachout’s article, in response to the NEA’s 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, prompted a variety of reactions across the field. Despite much of the hostility directed at Teachout, his question and concerns seemed to be valid and worth exploring, especially since the survey indicated that audiences (particularly for jazz, classical and opera music) were shrinking and growing older at an alarming rate. An interesting twist came in 2010 with the release of the NEA’s Audience 2.0 survey. A key finding in this survey was that Americans who participate in the arts through technology and electronic media (television, Internet, handheld devices) were three times more likely to attend a live arts event. Much like Teachout’s initial article, this survey also prompted a round of discussion about correlation and causation. Despite the controversy and debate, it is undeniable that technology is one of the most promising tools that organizations can use to build a younger fan base.

This white paper explores the role that digital marketing is now playing in building audiences in the jazz and classical music realm. This report also highlights the work of several artists and organizations at the forefront of reaching and developing new audiences online. It’s important to note, however, that most of the organizations and artists here would classify their work and the music they present as a hybrid of multiple genres. Though that distinction falls outside the scope of this report, it’s an important trend to take note of that can have a direct impact on digital marketing. Finally, we have provided a concise 4-step guide as an example of how many organizations actually implement best practices.

Organizations Highlighted:

We hope that you find each case study in this report to be encouraging and inspiring! Here were a few of the organizations we featured:

  • Mobtown Modern: was founded by Brian Sacawa in 2008. This organization fills a void in Baltimore’s vibrant music scene and serves as a catalyst for musical innovation and the creation and presentation of the new music of our time.
  • New Amsterdam Records and New Amsterdam Presents: New Amsterdam Records is the for-profit record label subsidiary of New Amsterdam Presents, a presenting and artists’ service organization that supports the public’s engagement with new music by composers and performers whose work grows from the fertile ground between genres.
  • Revive Music Group: serves as New York’s leader in conceptual and never-before-experienced live music productions—for a jazz and hip-hop celebration giving a unique aural exhibition of the undercurrents connecting the genres and ultimately fans of multiple generations.
  • Search and Restore: is a New York-based organization dedicated to uniting and developing the audience for new jazz music.

Download this report today!

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About the Author

Tara George is an Arts Management graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University who specializes in helping artists, arts managers and arts-based organizations find effective solutions to marketing their products, businesses and services. Her marketing focus is on technology, the internet and social media. She has also conducted and presented research on African American cultural movements in Baltimore City. Tara founded a digital marketing firm, The Afro Belle Agency, to work with women and minorities in the music industry and promote diversity in the industry. When not writing for Tech In The Arts, consulting with clients or doing homework, Tara enjoys playing jazz guitar and African percussion.



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