When Promotion Goes Wrong…

The problem with reading Private Eye is that you start thinking like Private Eye. Then you start talking like Private Eye. Finally, you end up tweeting like private eye…

My link was this. I stand by the suggestion that it would have been an awful waste of money had The Guardian paid for Alexis to fly to L.A. simply to interview an artist. Of course in reality the conspiracy theory is more often than not just that, a theory…

All due respect to Alexis, he didn’t rise to my initial goading insinuations but he did explain how record companies pay for specific media/journalists to interview their artists, ensuring press coverage in the desired print, in this case The Grauniad and Q Magazine. It makes financial sense, even in these belt-tightened economic times. With the right(-on) press on side the youth will listen, and the label guys will be rubbing their hands with glee as swathes of rebellious youth queue tirelessly for entrance to the assumed upcoming UK tour. All quite obvious really.

However this did get the ol’ cogs turning on the disparity of funds between jazz and popular music. Odd Future are purely an investment to Sony and any expenses lost to press (really it could be considered nothing more than mere advertisement, depending on the honesty of the journalist) would have only been spent with a forecast of millions being recouped in sales, merchandise and touring. However the majority of jazz artists still rely on the trusty CD promo and a fingers-crossed positive write-up to promote their work, such is the lack of funds. There is a risk attached to this, particularly for the bigger international names, as Ethan Iverson has been discussing on his blog.

If you work in the music industry at any level, particularly in areas related to press or agency, it must be very easy to take home, lend to a friend, burn to iTunes etc. any CD that graces your desk. As Ethan rightly states in his post an ECM release has “cachet” and everyone wants to be the first with the latest, even those who run music sharing blogs. I don’t think this leak will effect album sales for Billy Hart’s Quartet as harshly as initially feared, due in part to Ethan’s honest words of frustration and wit at the situation. As a member of the band his words need to spread. Fingers crossed.

Personally I’ve been waiting patiently for Billy Hart’s ECM leader debut for a while now, the line-up sounds exciting to say the least, and I’d be lying if I was to write I’m not tempted to have a sneaky listen. But where will that lead to? If I had a copy of the music on my iPod would I fork-out the money at Foyles? Even if, dun dun dunnnn, I didn’t connect with it?! It’s just wrong folks, both legally and morally – the people downloading are meant to be jazz lovers?! Think, people!

There is plenty of free high-art music out there. Earlier today I purchased April’s Wire Magazine and it’s a Tapper month – a free 20 track CD of contemporary tunes selected by the mag – this is the 28th release and it’s just quality. Jazzwise have similar promo freebies every now and then, mostly from independent jazz labels where every release is a labour of love, such as Naim, Babel and Basho. One of the recent CDs was a compilation of the Yamaha Parliamentary Jazz Scholars, full of exciting playing from the next generation. Talk about being the first with the latest, and it’s free. There is no excuse.

Do buy the latest Wire, if purely for Oren Ambarchi’s informal cogitation on his love for Miles’ Live-Evil. He pretty much sums up my opinion on the album; everyone is “on fire from the get-go!”



About Will Rodway

what you hear, what you read...
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