The survey is a treasure trove of new data, the fruits of the NEA’s consultation with artists, policymakers and researchers (including FMC) and the subsequent tweaking and expansion of the survey modules for 2012. For example, for the first time, the survey measured participation in music genres other than jazz, classical, opera and Latin; activities like attending hip hop concerts and listening to indie rock were considered “arts participation.” Some music SPPA highlights:
- 57% of adults used TV, radio or the internet to access music of any kind, and 34% of adults used a mobile device for the same purpose
- 31.6% of adults attended a live music performance in any genre, with the percentage rising to 40.6% for ages 18 to 24, and with no age cohort below 25% besides 75 and over (20%)
- 21.5% of adults e-mailed, posted or shared music; 3.3% shared music they had made
- 12% of adults play a musical instrument (alone or with another) and 8.7% sang; 2.2% practiced or performed classical music, 0.9% practiced or performed jazz, and 0.3% practiced or performed opera
- About half of the nation’s adults created, performed, or shared art of various types. Social dancing was the most popular form of art-making—31.5% danced socially
These findings represent a significant enlargement of the picture painted by the results of the SPPA, and the NEA deserves kudos for taking some major steps to update this survey instrument to capture changes in music production, consumption and interaction. These new questions will be even more powerful as subsequent studies allow the NEA to track changes over time, and as other researchers build on these results.