Alaska group surveys music community in attempt to measure size and impact

An Alaska music group is conducting a survey of the state’s music community in an attempt to measure its size and gauge its impact on the economy.

The Alaska Independent Musicians Initiative, which developed and is administering the Alaska Music Census, is asking anyone in the state with a connection to music to participate — from working musicians to amateur players to music teachers in all styles and genres. The census runs through Sept. 2 and includes a separate business survey for groups like technicians, retailers, promoters and venue operators.

AKIMI program director Marian Call said the census was developed after discussions with a number of sister groups including Music Iceland, Music Norway, Music Greenland, MusicPortland and King County Creative.

“This was the result of working with successful music offices in other places, particularly other either Northwest or circumpolar locations that are a little bit more remote,” Call said.

She said the census will provide a basis of information and data to support the Alaska music scene, both economically and structurally.

“You have to know who’s out there and you have to be able to explain to your business community and to the policymakers,” Call said.

AKIMI is a project of the Northern Culture Exchange, and the survey was developed and conducted with financial support from Alaska State Council for the Arts and the Atwood Foundation.


Organizers say the survey takes 5 to 15 minutes. AKIMI said it has received over 1,000 responses so far, but getting a complete and full count is vital.

“That’s why it’s important to get everybody counted,” Call said in a prepared statement. “If you sing in your community choir, if you play open mics, if you tour with a band, if you compose for the symphony, if you make beats in your bedroom or film music videos with your friends, if you play fiddle around the campfire — we want to hear from you.”

Call expects some of the data from the survey to be available within the next few months, with a large presentation planned at AKIMI’s annual summit in January.

Chris Bieri

Chris Bieri is the sports and entertainment editor at the Anchorage Daily News.