As a niche genre, jazz is particularly reliant on the support and attention of a loyal and engaged audience.
And, in today’s fast-paced and constantly evolving world, building and nurturing this audience is more important than ever.
Musicians, venues, festivals, publications, record labels, arts organisations and anyone else in the industry have a shared responsibility to contribute to this if they want to create more sustainable careers for everyone.
The theory is simple: by attracting new fans, whilst simultaneously engaging and keeping existing ones, the number of opportunities out there grows.
In practice, though, it’s an ongoing process that requires innovation, collaboration, persistence and, above all, a coherent plan for the process.
Not just artist-by-artist or venue-by-venue (although that’s a good place to start) but scene-by-scene and subgenre by subgenre.
Of course, promotion and marketing, but also (crucially) going deeper into community, storytelling, experience, interaction and other outside-the-box ideas to inspire listeners to take action.
Ultimately, by building and maintaining stronger relationships with both existing and potential fans who are ready to support the music and musicians, the jazz industry is in a much stronger position.