June 15, 2008
Back last night from the gigantic four-dayÂ gathering in Denver of more than 3,000 folksÂ involved in todayâ€™s worlds Â Â of music, theatre and dance.Â Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â The scope wasÂ huge and the slant was definitely towardsÂ identifying and speaking to the needsÂ of organizations, rather than those ofÂ the individual artist.Â Â Â That said, there was stillÂ a fair amount of useful â€“ essential â€“ information Â presented for the composer.
In a following post Â Iâ€™ll get to my thoughts on the generalÂ tenor and slant of NPAC.Â Here I concentrate on summarizing some Â the Â preliminary findings of the national survey of composers just completed (a project jointly supported byÂ American Music Center, American Composers Forum and Meet The Composer, with essential input from ASCAP and BMI):
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 1,331 composers took the survey.Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Participation was voluntary, viaÂ the internet.Â Anyone who believes s/he is a composer was eligible to answer â€“ no distinction between â€˜composer-in-embryoâ€™ and â€˜professionalâ€™.Â
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Weâ€™re mostly concentrated in urban areas.Â (No surprise.)Â Â Â Â Â But every state sent in at least one response.Â
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Weâ€™re a highly educated bunch.Â 85% of us have a college degree, and many continue beyond the baccalaureate.Â
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Weâ€™re close to 80%Â white male.Â Women comprise about 20% of respondents.
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Income:Â While c.Â 6% of respondents report annual income in six figures,Â the averageÂ annual incomeÂ – from all sources -Â isÂ $46,000.Â Â Income specifically from composing activitiesÂ averagrd $7,000.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (Composing activities include commissions,Â grants and prizes,Â royalties,Â honorariaÂ for leading masterclasses and concert Q&A, etc.)
IdentifyingÂ composersâ€™ quality of life issues are also part of this survey â€“ an important part.Â Â Virtually the first item to appear on the power-point itemizationÂ was that We Have No Union ( or guild)Â -Â toÂ watch over the profession,Â establish an accepted fee schedule, assist in obtaining healthcare, etc.
I made the point from the floor that the organizations sponsoring this survey must Â make it their mission to increase public awareness of ourÂ existence as a profession.Â Â Â (This means from every standpoint, including that of the IRS. )
The survey will continue, focusing on the four largest urban areas, according to the now-established composer concentrations.Â
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