I sympathize with you completely. Incidently, I went to Borders with a friend for a few minutes and he noticed that a lady saxist just put out an albums -- Kenny G style. Now everyone in RMB has a definite opinion on Kenny G, but still, his stuff sells like hotcakes. He's in the right place at the right time and his stuff is selling in the JAZZ section, too. It boggles the mind. Personally, I'd feel MUCH better if his stuff was selling in the "easy listening" section, but that's life.
Perhaps, if there wasn't undue influence, less would have to be done to make it fair. musicians could be known due to their ability, not their financial association.
So it wouldnt be forcing. I truly feel that, like with the original payola scene, it is not a fair playing field. Perhaps, at least, a small % could be put aside for unknowns, the way the musicians union has a performance trust fund [did I say that? the m.u. in nyc is so meaningless, unless you're in the Philharmonic. Look I don't have the answers, but I damn sure mean to raise the issue!]
Cadence is suffering too. If and when it goes under, and there is nothing left but the slicks, and they're owned by Time-Warner and the rec co's are too and >> they dictate who plays where, what will you say then?
It ain't just about money.
1.there is less and less competition among the rec co is they're owned by 3-4 co.s!!!
I propose that, for a start, we all 'sign' a letter with the article and an explanation and send it to every jazz mag, as well as our elected representitives.
It will take a real effort by all of us to change it. Even breaking up some of the monopolies might help but the net is a great tool, too.
Mine is mostly intuition, which is why it is hard to put into words probably. Some of the many guys (and they are mainly guys) working at Columbia/Sony, etc. don't know anything or care or understand about the music and what an important part it is of American Culture. How studying jazz makes sense.
I was distressed the second time I went to JazzTimes or so and realized they were showcasing whichever artists the record company wanted to do. Guess because they buy advertising in their magazine. JazzTimes magazine, in my opinion, is turning or has turned into one big ad for record companies and CD reviews. But I guess that is the same with most city newspapers now that I think about it.
The scary part is that, as you say, the owners and producers of the product now own the communication link - - Times Warner, for example. My guess is that some company like Reservoir would have trouble getting their product into Tower, Sam Goody, Wherehouse, Blockbuster, etc. What happaned to Anti-trust laws? or something like that?
The only hope we have is to develop a strong,national jazz organization who
can operate with foundation and membership money - - maybe that would help.
Well, guess I'll stop here. Nuff said.
>My best guess is that in the States, small, independent record stores can barely stay in business - - as with many things now major corporations have monopolized the scene.
Major labels such as Columbia (and there are some excellent artists with them, that is not the point here), for example, can afford to do the big advertising because they also produce rock, rap, and everything else. The big record stores must stock their product, they do the most advertising, and so it goes. Reservoir and other labels are limited to jazz - - and jazz does not sell in the States like it does elsewhere around the world.
The major record companies then promote their artists, they are infiltrating jazz festivals and supplying their artists -- etc. etc. It is all mass media here - - and with less government support for the arts so one doesn't have to rely on advertising dollars - - well, our air waves are also controlled by the same people who make the product.
If our artists couldn't work in other parts of the world, I doubt that most would be able to make a living and keep the music going. Jazz still has a hard time here. Then to top this all off, many people now consider "jazz" folks like Kenny G (who I have heard say himself is not a jazz artist), etc. so many Americans don't even really know what jazz is and, hence, no appreciation or understanding of how important that music is to American culture - - realizing there are different styles, of course, and I don't need to get into any further discussion about this with anyone on this list. Many of you, I am sure, get involved in the same sorts of discussions.
>And, of course, so many wonderful, important jazz artists are not on major
labels because they do not compromise their music, and want to be in charge
of their own music, when it is produced, who they use on the date, etc. It
is a monster. No one has a clear handle on it. Thank God for folks like
Mark Feldman. I hope others are able to survive and perhaps hold on for
better days and a more educated public here in the States. Now I've
probably caused enough trouble, so adios.
By the way, you made your point quite well...
Thanks again. Jo Ann