At Phrased & Confused, we’re unashamedly proud of our data geek anoraks. However, our geekiness is offset by a strong belief that research is a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. When we set out to do some research it’s because we want to know the answer to some questions that are bugging us, or because we want to get inside a particular issue, or know more about our audiences. We want to know all this because it helps us to measure what we’re doing, and to plan what we might do in the future.
When we’re not working on bringing great music and spoken word to you, some of us spend our time crunching those numbers and chewing the spoken word cud. Over the years we’ve done various pieces of research. Here’s a summary of some of them…
In 2016 Phrased & Confused conducted research into the potential for a national spoken word producer development programme. Our research set out to test demand for and explore possible delivery models of a spoken word development programme that would tackle the following widely-acknowledged challenges within the spoken word sector:
• Artists struggle to create viable national tours, because venues find spoken word too financially risky.
• Low audience numbers make it financially risky for venues to book spoken word; consequently, they struggle to build a spoken word audience.
• A lack of skilled experienced spoken word producers
Find out more about our Findings by downloading the 2016 Research commentary.
We’re big on audience research. We have to be, because our aim with Phrased & Confused is to attract new people to spoken word, and we need to know if all our hard efforts are doing that. So, we try to come up with lateral thinking ways of getting you guys to tell us more about you and what you think of us. It’s our way of getting us introduced to each other.
Here are some of the things you’ve told us at Summer Sundae in 2009…
• 51% of you were aged 25 or under
• 91% of you had been to more than 3 music gigs in the previous 12 months, and 42% to more than 10
• Meanwhile, 57% of you said you’d been to ‘1 or 2’ spoken word events in the same period – but anecdotal feedback suggests that this may well have been at our own P&C tent or fringe gig.
• Only 19% of you had been to a spoken word tent at another festival, suggesting that Phrased & Confused reaches audiences other spoken word brands can’t!
• 64% of you said that having checked out Phrased & Confused you intended to go to further spoken word events in the future
• 64% of you had listened to artist tracks on the Phrased & Confused USB wristband you picked up at the festival
Phrased & Confused TV – Feasibility Research
In 2009 we secured Arts Council England support for a research project to “explore the potential for a bespoke digital platform for spoken word, which would harness the audience development potential of digital technology, enable UK-based artists to develop relationships with global consumers, able to ‘mainline’ their live literature on demand, via their PCs, MP3 players or mobile phones”. Later that year, we collected feedback from our festival audiences, and in the first half of 2010 we turned our attention to those working in the sector. We used this feedback to help us model how a digital platform (provisionally called Phrased & Confused TV) might best be delivered, scoping out the platform’s functionality, testing and spec-ing out the most appropriate ‘front’ and back end’ models for the platform and exploring income generation opportunities. We then moved onto drill down in more detail into: vision and aims; the offer to artists, arts organisations and audiences; the platform model; skills development programme; content; evaluation, audience and user research and benchmarking; marketing; HR; timetable, and financial projections.
All this work means that we’re confident that we’ve got the P&C TV ‘offer’ right. We’ve ‘walked through’ the project to put together a detailed operational structure and job descriptions, budget and timeline. So far, so feasible. Turning to the figures, our research into the potential to generate earned income potential confirmed that, at present, it’s pretty nigh impossible for niche platforms such as this to do this to any real extent. It’s a tough time to be fundraising and the biggest question mark is over financial viability. Our fundraising research points to a number of possibilities, but success here – and the feasibility of the project – will depend on: potential funders’ willingness and ability to join us in testing our proposition. We’re actively working on all of this now, so join our mailing list to stay up to date with developments.