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Surveys & reports

IMC Musician Survey 2020

In early 2020, IMC conducted a survey amongst Irish jazz musicians, and gathered valuable information from the respondents on income streams, payment models, and different career structures amongst other things.

The goals of IMC’s musician survey was to assess the current state of the jazz and improvising musician community in Ireland, with respect to how and when they make music, how they make a living and the absences in infrastructure to support musicians. We hoped to evaluate how the jazz musician community is integrated into the wider arts scene, and where more engagement could be helpful.

We also aimed to assess IMC’s effectiveness in assisting musicians - how effective our communications with musicians are, and where our help is most needed.

Basic information & musical life

Section 1 and Section 2 outlined the demographics of the respondents and included information on the respondents’ musical lives, including their income levels, types of work pursued, amount of time spent working professionally in music, and averages of work across the year, amongst others.

Major findings included:

  • Teaching, performing covers, and non-music sources made up the bulk of earned income for Irish artists.
  • Only a quarter of respondents worked full-time on musical activities.
  • A huge majority of respondents had played for free or in-kind expenses in the previous year, with an average of 8 free performances per year.

Engaging with IMC

Section 3 illustrated the various ways in which respondents had engaged with IMC as a resource, support or programmer over the previous year.

Major findings included:

  • Respondents found the opportunities in IMC’s Musician Newsletter very useful
  • Facebook and the Newsletter were the preferred ways to engage with IMC for a large majority.
  • Some of IMC’s recent initiatives including Performer Promos and our Irish jazz playlist had not reached a number of respondents.

Professional Development & Expectation

Section 4 focused on the particular needs for professional development and overall needs of the community as expressed by the respondents.

Major findings included:

  • A need emphasised for a national venue for jazz/improvised music
  • A need emphasised for networking opportunities and support in applying for funding
  • A need emphasised for further opportunities for artists to develop work nationally.

Jazz in the Arts Scene

Section 5 aimed to assess respondents' engagement with the wider arts scene and other organisations, illustrating the extent to which Irish jazz musicians are or are not working within the broader cultural sector.

Major findings included:

  • Nearly all respondents were in favour of a national/lobbying body for jazz/improvised music.
  • A serious need for supportive venues and performance platforms was identified, particularly in the absence of some festivals which had previously employed a large number of jazz artists.
  • 85% of respondents who had applied for Arts Council funding had received it.

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