In response to the NEA numbers, a nice thoughtful post from Ian Rogers on the great digital possibilities being somewhat ignored by jazz musicians and the jazz universe. Highly recommended read. A snippet:
I have been talking to Garrett about loving jazz and not knowing where to discover it, and he was pointing out that while the Internet is allowing many niche music genres to flourish (this isn’t conjecture, I spoke with someone from an independent distributor recently who told me that while the business is definitely depressed the independents have more records in the top 200 albums than ever in recent history), jazz doesn’t seem to be benefiting from this change in physics. It would appear jazz has a chicken/egg problem: it’s not an Internet-generation art form so it hasn’t picked up the tools of the Internet-age yet, but as a result it hasn’t had the opportunity to benefit from some of the niche-ification other genres have.
A lot of Ian’s thoughts mirror my own re: missed opportunities and the future of the “jazz industry” whatever that is. I just know that with increased distribution possibilities jazz artists should be faring better than they are. In jazz music, more than others perhaps, there are “concentrations of attraction” — meaning fans are seekers. The internet is a place for seekers. The opportunity is enormous. As I say in the comments to my post, I would love to be part of a continuing conversation as to how artists and the jazz industy press forward. Check my past posts on these topics linked below, too.
Some of my comments on Ian’s post:
I have a great interest in this conversation. A lot of the continuing interest in jazz/improv is of an academic nature, and mine isn’t. As Ian’s, my interest is as a fan of music. Jazz is a music that inspires devotion, maybe not of huge #’s of people, but a firm devotion nonetheless. Because I love lots of different kinds of music and because I want to be exposed to lots of different things, I have a hesitancy to want to talk about jazz apart from other “genres” but for this conversation it is appropriate and important. I would love to continue a discussion with others about how to further the music’s mechanisms using the full breadth of possible tools.
As for releasing, selling, promoting music, I crushed on Topspin in a blog post back in March and touched on its possibilities with “fringe” music incl. jazz (forgive the gratuitous self-promo, thx): https://lovegloom.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/my-crush-on-topspins-big-fan-approach-to-digital-music/
also a follow up post in response to the great Jeff Stern: https://lovegloom.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/update-my-crush-on-topspin%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Cbig-fan-approach%E2%80%9D-to-digital-music/