Jazz At Lincoln Center
Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC), NYC’s most versatile and spacious venue for jazz, aims to enrich, entertain, and expand a global community through education, performance, and advocacy. In 2006, JALC commissioned WolfBrown to conduct a significant market research effort to address a variety of questions about JALC audiences. Specifically, research questions spanned: identification with jazz, perceptions of JALC, satisfaction levels, marketing strategy sustainability, pricing/value, and reasons for former buyers not renewing. To help JALC better understand these areas, consultants launched several research initiatives, including a pre-planning exercise, a pre-recruitment online survey and participatory interviewing exercise, a postal survey of subscribers, single ticket buyers, former buyers, and non-users, and also informal pre-performance focus groups.

Research unveiled much about the individuals engaging with JALC and their attitudes towards the facility and jazz. Individuals discovered jazz in different ways, and many respondents noted childhood exposure to music as a large factor driving interest. Generally, respondents reported high levels of consumption of jazz via recordings and radio. In regard to venues, only a few respondents spoke of a concert hall as a favorite type of space to see jazz, tending to instead value more intimate and informal settings. Respondents construct preferences for jazz less in terms of styles or time periods and more in terms of instruments and artists. Some respondents who are passionate about jazz professed don't know a lot about it from an historical standpoint, and some articulated an intimidation factor surrounding jazz. Overall, survey respondents expressed very high levels of interest in learning more about this type of music.

Subscribers offered a variety of reasons why they like to subscribe, with answers relating to their affinity with the art form as well as a desire to fulfill social needs. Most were very positive about email and other communications from JALC. The most frequent response to questions around non-use was a lack of awareness, particularly the lack of “buzz” and the feeling that JALC is not yet a part of a decision choice set for many New Yorkers. Moreover, the upscale nature of the venue leads some people to think they needed to dress up and behave a certain way.

Altogether, results provided management with an enhanced understanding of the attitudes, preferences, and behaviors of constituent groups, as well as information about barriers to increased use among non-users. The research had significant implications for all aspects of JALC including programming, operations, marketing, development, and the facility space. In particular, results suggested that JALC should expand educational programming, look into self-directed listening experiences, think carefully about the design of lobby spaces, enhance their outreach and decrease the intimidation factor that some associate with their brand, develop social network marketing strategies, and aim to reach more diverse audiences.

Consultants: Alan Brown
Year Complete: 2007