Chorus Operations Survey Report (2022)

The 2022 Chorus Operations Survey Report shares how choruses’ budgets, digital and in-person programming practices, and staffing have changed due to the impact of COVID-19.

The 2022 Chorus Operations Survey Report highlights the significant impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on choruses’ budgets – impacts that are consistent with what is being seen across the arts and culture sector generally. While the choruses that contributed data ended fiscal year 2020/21 in an overall healthy financial position, the report leaves no doubt that our field faces a period of regrowth and rebalancing.

Chorus’s budgets are significantly smaller today than in years past. Comparing budget sizes from this year’s report to the 2020 report, 29 choruses experienced a shift into a smaller budget category. This year’s report, for the first time, also offers a trend analysis that tracks the operating budgets of 55 choruses that submitted data over the past four years. The analysis shows that total operating revenue decreased 14% between fiscal year 2019 and fiscal year 2021.

Today’s chorus budgets also rely far more on contributed revenue than earned revenue. Choruses have always had a slightly higher ratio of contributed to earned revenue than the 50/50 split that arts organizations generally reported pre-pandemic, and this gap has grown significantly. This report shows that for fiscal year 2020/21, a typical chorus’s revenue breakdown might look like raising 78% of revenue through contributed sources, 11% through earned sources, and 11% through investments. This is largely due to an increase in revenue from government sources, thanks to the federal and local relief funding that many choruses received.

New to this year’s report, SMU DataArts’ streamlined Cultural Data Profile allows in-depth reporting on digital and in-person offerings, including attendance numbers for each. Almost all distinct performances reported were digital, with over half of chorus programming offered as on-demand productions or programs that could be viewed anytime. Even as choruses resume more in-person activities, measuring and benchmarking the impact of digital programming will continue to be important for demonstrating overall impact.

Compensation Reports

The Chorus Operations Survey also captures compensation information for administrative and artistic leaders and singers. Chorus America provides compensation information for artistic and administrative leaders of choruses within general budget ranges, as well as singer information in aggregate, to our members. Access our General Compensation Reports:

Chorus America can also provide a customized report targeted more closely to your budget range. This report includes benefit information provided to compensated employees. The fee per report is $25 for members; $100 for nonmembers. 

Email [email protected] to request a customized compensation report. 

Image by Mudassar Iqbal from Pixabay