Frequently Asked Questions - Creative Industries

A Creative Industries report is a two-page document that maps the location of all of the nonprofit and for-profit arts-related businesses in any political jurisdiction (e.g., city, county, state, legislative district). The reports provide very specific and reliable data about the number of arts-centric businesses—and the number of people that they employ. They are a proven advocacy tool.

Using data from Dun & Bradstreet—widely acknowledged as the most comprehensive and trusted source for business information in the United States—Creative Industries: Business & Employment in the Arts reports offer a research-based approach to understanding the scope and importance of the arts to the nation's economy. While most economic impact studies of the arts have focused on the nonprofit sector (such as our own Arts and Economic Prosperity studies), the Creative Industries study is one of the few national studies that encompass both the nonprofit and for-profit arts industries.

We have taken a conservative approach to defining the Creative Industries by focusing solely on businesses involved in the production or distribution of the arts. For the purposes of this study, the Creative Industries are composed of arts-centric businesses that range from nonprofit museums, symphonies, and theaters to for-profit film, architecture, and advertising companies. We have guarded against overstatement of the sector by excluding industries such as computer programming and scientific research—both creative, but not focused on the arts.

The source of our data is Dun & Bradstreet—widely acknowledged as the most comprehensive and trusted source for business information in the United States—which provides very specific and reliable data about employment and the number of arts-centric businesses in both the nonprofit and for-profit arts. Our analyses demonstrate an under-representation of nonprofit arts organizations in the Dun & Bradstreet database, and consequently, in our data. Additionally, many individual artists are not included, as not all are employed by a business.

The Creative Industries research uses Dun & Bradstreet data to document the number of arts-related businesses and employees in any geographical region or political jurisdiction. If you don’t have a D-U-N-S number, then you are not represented in the data. Do your part to help advance the arts in America—SIGN UP AND BE COUNTED.

Americans for the Arts has compiled step-by-step directions that will guide you through the process of registering with Dun & Bradstreet using their website. The application process takes less than 10 minutes. It’s fast and it’s free.

To take the next step, click below to obtain more information:

Thank you for your interest!  Learn how to participate in our Creative Industries Study here— Sign Up and Be Counted!

Have questions or concerns? Find an error in your report? Please contact us by e-mail or call the Research team at 202.371.2830.

D-U-N-S stands for "Data Universal Numbering System," a coding method developed by Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) to track businesses in their database. In order to be counted in the D&B database, you must have a D-U-N-S number. Read more details about the D-U-N-S number and our data collection methodology.

D-U-N-S Numbers are unique, nine-digit numbers that are used by businesses and the Federal government to keep track of more than 70 million businesses worldwide. Some entities, such as states and universities, will also have what is known as "D-U-N-S+ 4," which is used to identify specific units within a larger entity.
The "Data Universal Numbering System" (known as D-U-N-S) data is utilized in the Creative Industries research to document the number of arts-related businesses and employees in any geographical region or political jurisdiction. If you don’t have a D-U-N-S Number, then you are not represented in the data. You can find out more about registering for a D-U-N-S Number from D&B here.

Individual artists and arts organizations should register for a D-U-N-S number.

If you are an individual artist or an arts organization, you should register.  There are two reasons why it is important for all of the nation’s artists and arts organizations to secure a D-U-N-S number.

  • Registering for a D-U-N-S number makes you eligible for grants. The Federal government has recently enacted a new policy that requires all grantees and contractors to provide a D-U-N-S number as part of their grant applications and proposals, and many state and local arts agencies are doing the same. Thus, even to apply for a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, for example, you need a DUNS number.
  • The Creative Industries project uses the D-U-N-S number to identify each for-profit and nonprofit arts-related business in the country. The more accurate the information is, the more successful our combined efforts to increase awareness of the national scope of the arts industry will be.

No and no!  The process takes only minutes to complete online. Once it is complete, you will receive your D-U-N-S number via email in as few as five business days.  The entire process is entirely free!

Americans for the Arts strongly encourages you to register online. You can do so by visiting the Dun & Bradstreet website. For step-by-step instructions on how to register, view our instructions for registering with Dun & Bradstreet.

Complete your online registration/account update with D&B by December 31 of each year.  Americans for the Arts downloads data from D&B at the beginning of each calendar year. If you aren’t registered or updated by the end of the year, you won’t be tracked accurately in the yearly update.  

If your business profile has changed in the past year (e.g., change in number of employees) then you should update your information to ensure that your account profile is as accurate as possible. We have found that some of the arts organizations that already have a D-U-N-S number are associated with non-arts codes in the D&B database. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are correctly coded in the D&B database. Fortunately, it is a simple process that takes only minutes to complete.

If you have a D-U-N-S number, you should update your business profile periodically to assure that it is as accurate as possible. For step-by-step instructions on how to update your business profile, view our directions for updating your business profile.

Each D&B registrant is also assigned an 8-digit Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code. The SIC codes identifies the arts industry sub-category in which you or your organization belongs. The table below provides the primary SIC codes for common nonprofit arts organizations.

Don’t see a match for your organization? Refer to this detailed list of the 644 SIC codes, (PDF, 153 KB) which contains information for all arts-related businesses and individual artists (both for-profit and nonprofit).

Note that "arts council" is the most appropriate code for statewide advocacy groups and government arts agencies such as a cultural affairs department; therefore, they all share the same SIC code.

Common SIC Codes for Nonprofit Arts Organizations
view a complete list (PDF, 153 KB)

Organization Type

8-Digit SIC Code

Arts Council


Government Agency (e.g., Department of Cultural Affairs) (same SIC code as Arts Council)




Arts or Science Center


Art Gallery, non-commercial


Art School, non-commercial


Symphony Orchestra


Summer Theater


Opera Company


Theatrical Company


Performing Arts Center Production


Community Theater Production


Ballet Production


Dance Studios, Schools, and Halls


Theater Building, ownership and operation



No. The Sign Up and Be Counted campaign is run solely by Americans for the Arts. We do not have a contract with D&B to provide D-U-N-S numbers to all arts organizations. The D-U-N-S number is the first step to participating with us, but it is separate from the campaign.