Rural vs Urban: Different Arts Technology Needs

By Dr. Brett Ashley Crawford, ED AMT Lab

Here at AMT Lab we are a little over-fascinated with data.  To that end we thought we should start sharing fun observations we are making about data created by our researchers and those across the country.  Our premiere Second Sunday Survey (S3) post will share the connections between NEA surveys and the recent AMT Lab Ticketing Software Survey.

In 2008 the NEA conducted its Survey for Public Participation in the Arts.  When analyzing the data, distinct differences in participation emerged. The researchers delved more deeply and produced a useful and insightful report entitled State and Regional Differences in Arts Participation: A Geographic Analysis of the 2008 SPPA. These differences include perceptions of what counts as both art and participation, with active participation taking a much larger role. Similarly, when the NEA researched the influence and impact of technology on participation in their report Audience 2.0: How Technology Influences Arts Participation, the impact shifted in rural zones with less immediate access to traditional arts.  

These reports informed AMT Lab researchers when designing and analyzing the 2015 Ticketing Software Survey.  The survey successfully met the goal of a broad geographic data set.  

 Chart 1: Regional Distribution of Survey Respondents

Chart 1: Regional Distribution of Survey Respondents

 Chart 2: Regional distribution shows counts, not percentages

Chart 2: Regional distribution shows counts, not percentages

AMT Lab’s results noted more similarities than differences. Survey analysis for organizations within the U.S. suggested geographic regional differences in usage and importance of particular features; however, many features were ranked equally across the country. Overall regional differences were most notable in features addressing shared services, vendor support satisfaction, membership and ticket forgery prevention.  Midwest arts organizations seem most dissatisfied with vendor support.

 Chart 3: Satisfaction with vendor support varies by region

Chart 3: Satisfaction with vendor support varies by region

Rural and urban differences aligned in two distinct areas: user interface expectations and habits and vendor satisfaction.  Urban organizations served users engaging with or asking for features newer to ticketing systems, like printing at home, while larger budget organizations showed higher values for features like bar codes.  As arts organizations make plans for their technology, their user’s access to technology and comfort with various user interfaces must lead market facing decisions.  As a manager originally from rural Missouri, I am aware that truly rural areas are still far underserved for connectivity.

Canadian organizations revealed significantly different feature usage than the USA, but this was possibly due to the fact that the majority of organizations all used the same ticketing solution.

Throughout our new Ticketing Software Report, analysis crosses geographic, discipline, and budget differences.  If there are software questions you have about the arts, let us know. We are planning for future research projects.

Enjoy your data!


Dr. Brett Ashley Crawford

Executive Director