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Copenhagen Jazz Festival

Essay by   •  February 26, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  2,076 Words (9 Pages)  •  994 Views

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Copenhagen Jazz Festival

"If you have to ask what jazz is, you will never know" - Louis Amstrong.

This July Copenhagen Jazz Festival went live with 33rd edition of their annual event. As one of the more well-established festival of its kind, it is unique in its pure dedication to the jazz genre. But just as clear as the passion for the music is, as much ambiguity is present in their organization. First of all CJF's mission statement can be said to focus on quality, whilst also being oriented towards quantity - two perspectives that usually is seen as mutually exclusive. Their business model also points in two different direction. In general you would categorize festivals as part of the cultural consumer industry, "selling" their products directly to the consumer. This is the case for CJF in their role as concert producer, but they also function as an umbrella organisation, which can be seen as selling services to other businesses. Signe Lodrup, the Festival Manager, clearly stated that one of their goals, going forward with the festival was to enhance quality. But this leaves the question: quality to whom?

A special trait for CJF is that it is operating as a non-profit organization, dependent on external funding. Its budget is based on 35% own income, 30% private funding/sponsorships and 35% public funding. Without the external funding, the festival would not exist, and in this CJF has to cater to multiple stakeholders with different interests and motivation for supporting their operation. This poses a constraint on what initiatives the organization can put into play in order to enhance quality for its customers.

It is critical to understand the behaviour and expectations of consumers in order to provide a high quality experience (Pegg and Patterson, 2010). If CJF is not able to do this it result in "strategic drift" - a situation where they inadequately match the changing consumer needs in the external environment with their strategy. CJF is operating in a mass market, and Signe Lodrup defined CJF's target segment as all people between 0-100 years old. As for most firms in the cultural industries, they are dealing with the "no-body-knows" property (Caves, 2002) - and the bigger the market, the larger uncertainty exist. By bringing the customers closer to the organization, knowing who they are, what they value, and engaging them in the innovation process, CJF would be able to reduce this uncertainty.

Copenhagen Jazz Festival is a success - it has grown significantly in numbers over the past decade - but success can easily produce complacency (Kotter, 2008). Festival visitors look for new, different and exciting experiences (Larson, 2003), and if CJF wants to prevent a decline in audience numbers, it requires continuous development and innovation of the festival product - both generating new and creative ideas, as well as adapting to social trends. It has been proven that interaction between firms and organizations has a favourable impact on innovation (Larson 2003), but it seems that CJF is not utilizing the fact that they are engaging with so many different clubs and venues each year. Generating value for customers will help in strengthening their brand and improving bargaining power both towards venues and in securing further funding.

User interaction

Copenhagen Jazz Festival has it as a part of their mission statement to strengthen the Danish jazz scene in general and promote the interest to jazz. In a study examining why festivals fail: (...)Getz (2002) found that key factors are stagnation in the festival programme and inability to improve festival quality (Larson: 2009, p. 288). Related to this, the following will examine how and why CJF in the future should continue to renew themselves in the form of new innovative ideas and maintaining the high standard of programme quality in which they take great pride. In the Festival sector there has been a tendency: (...) where much of the focus has remained on the setting rather than catering to people's needs (Pegg: 2010, p. 90), and this report will argue that this statement can be applied to CJF's current situation.

As stated by Pegg 2010 it is important to approach the market with a service dominant philosophy and thereby recognizing, (...) the fact that the organization and its exchange partners (i.e., tourists visiting a music festival) are both effectively engaged in the co-creation of value through reciprocal service provision (Pegg: 2010, p.90).

Seeing a jazz festival as a niche market and jazz music as a music form with a relatively high degree of cultural capital (Bourdieu: 1986) the quality of events and lineup becomes imperative to keep attracting the jazz enthusiasts. As studies has shown festival visitors look for new, different and exciting experiences and thus the innovative elements are very significant to keep attracting repeat visitors (Larson: 2010). This particular crowd is devoted to the music and they are willing to pay to enjoy their passion for jazz. If the quality decline they will begin to look for other options to CJF. For the audience coming from abroad there is different alternatives at the same time like for example the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland from July 1-16.

Although CJF is different from Montreux in the sense that CJF host more free of charge events they are still dependent on a satisfactory number of audiences to be able to attract sponsors and to justify the public funding which is a rather large percentage of their overall funding as stated above. If the numbers decreases because of lack of renewal it becomes less attractive for these particular stakeholders to be engaged with CJF.

Signe Lopdrup explained how she believes that CJF has reached its limit in concerns of sheer number of concerts and events. She would rather focus on the quality and not on expanding any further. But how does this correlate with the wishes of for example sponsors, who are likely to be more focused on quantity of exposure? This is where the branding of the festival as a whole is an important focus and how to convince the sponsors that quality perceives quantity, and this will be analyzed in depth further down.

According to CEO Signe Lopdrup there is no user involvement related to coming up with new ideas, choosing

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