Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies - A Program of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
CACPS HOME
QUICK FACTS:
How Many Jazz Musicians Are There?

About this Quick Fact

Definition of Terms

Definition of "Jazz Musicians"

In the 2002 study, Study of Jazz Artists 2001, a relatively inclusive definition was used to identify jazz musicians in each of the two samples drawn for this study. The first sample was drawn from the membership lists of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) in New York, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Detroit. The second was a "respondent-driven sample" (RDS) of jazz musicians in each of the same four metropolitan areas.

In the AFM sample of union members, a respondent was considered a jazz musician if he or she answered "yes" to the question, "Do you ever play or sing jazz music?"

In the RDS sample of musicians, a respondent was considered a jazz musician if he or she answered "yes" to any of the following questions:

  • Do you consider yourself a jazz musician?
  • Did you earn more than 50 percent of your personal income in the last six months as a jazz musician or in jazz-related activities?
  • Have you been engaged in your art/jazz more than 50 percent of the time during the last year?
  • Have you performed in/with a jazz band at least 10 times in the last year?
  • Have you performed with or without a jazz band for pay at least 10 times during the last year?
  • Have you produced a documented body of work that is considered (self or externally) jazz? (Documented output = performances, compositions, collaborations, arrangements, recordings) [Jeffri, Joan. 2003. Changing the Beat: A Study of the Worklife of Jazz Musicians, Volume III: Respondent-Driven Sampling. NEA Research Division Report #43. Washington DC: National Endowment for the Arts.]

Respondent-Driven Sampling

Respondent-driven sampling (RDS) is a method of locating members of hard-to-reach populations that are difficult or costly to sample using traditional methodologies. Developed by Cornell University sociologist Douglas Heckathorn, RDS is a form of chain-referral sampling with checks and balances built in to overcome the biases usually associated with this method. A detailed description of the theory and mathematical underpinnings of this sampling method may be found in the article, "Finding the beat: Using respondent-driven sampling to study jazz musicians," by Douglas D. Heckathorn and Joan Jeffri [Poetics 28 (2001) 307-329].

Originally developed to locate injection drug users for HIV-prevention studies and later adapted to find members of such "hidden" populations as gay Latinos in Chicago and Vietnam draft resisters who left the U.S. for Canada, the Study of Jazz Artists 2001 represents the first time this sampling methodology has been used to study artists. According to the research report for the study:

"RDS is a method based on peer recruitment. In each of the four metropolitan areas [New York, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Detroit], a city coordinator began the study by inviting six to eight jazz musicians to help start the project. These musicians were well connected in the community, not necessarily famous or very visible, but with many contacts since RDS depends on a high contact pattern of the subjects studied. Each of these musicians was interviewed [for the study]. Following the interview, each of these six to eight 'seeds' was given four coupons with which to recruit additional jazz musicians..."

"We paid the initial 'seeds' a modest $10 and for each coupon the seed gave out, another $15 each time one of the four coupons was redeemed. Any single jazz musician had the possibility to earn a total of $75. This limit on both coupons and payment incentives was to avoid over-representing one particular group of musicians to the exclusion of others." [Jeffri, Joan. 2003. Changing the Beat: A Study of the Worklife of Jazz Musicians, Volume III: Respondent-Driven Sampling. NEA Research Division Report #43. Washington DC: National Endowment for the Arts.]

 

Princeton University Home Tel: (609) 258-5180; E-mail: artspol@princeton.edu