The New Payola, 1997

The saga continues as people respond and contribute to the discussion of The New Payola...

Daniel W. Sowter wrote on July 4, 1997:
Read your thread on the new payola.
Right on dude!!!! Could not agree more...

July 28 1996, D.S. wrote:
Wow. I just finished reading the Payola thingy. Heavy stuff. Now, this is just between you and me -- please. I've worked in different fields and the fact that the "big" guys can tread on the "little" guys is true in every field. It's a fact of life -- a miserable fact of life.

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.

On January 21, 1996, Marc S. wrote:

Michael Drummond wrote on June 23, 1997:

May 12, 1997, Jo Ann Collins wrote:
I am just as glad these words from me did not go out to everyone. I don't know why I have such a hard time putting into words what I (and I am a presenter of jazz and the head of a not-for-profit organization, presenting people like John Hicks, Peter Leitch, Gary Bartz, Tommy Flanagan, Sonny Fortune, Buster Williams, Billy Higgins, etc., etc. - - in my mind the real guys with lots of history and years of study and experience behind them - but none, probably on a major label right now) see happening.

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.
Jo Ann

>Date: Mon, 12 May 1997, Jo Ann Collins wrote:

>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.
Jo Ann

May 16, 1997, Jo Ann Collins wrote:
I'm not going to have time to rewrite. Please just go ahead and use what you like, you may use my name - - if it gets me in trouble, then so be it. I'm willing to talk. I'm also not trying to diminish anyone's success or having been signed to a major label, - not even saying that young guys like Nicholas Payton, Joshua Redman, or anyone else should refuse promotion. Just that there needs to be an awakening to what may happen to the art form if folks don't pay attention. We need to make sure excellent jazz artists who are dedicated, inspired, and have something to contribute, get that chance.

By the way, you made your point quite well...
Thanks again. Jo Ann

Alberto Gutierrez wrote on May 14, 1997:
Richard, your article "The New Payola", must be read for any one who is really concern about jazz scene all over the world, that situation is such as I mention about Reservoir Records with Jo Ann, I 've seen very clear now. Since then, when I see my Cds, I'm thinking and wondering how many musicians there would be underrated behind each one of this productions? How many of them really deserve that position? Who are a really musician? When or where the truth, fantasy or lie start? I've never believed on Cd reviews, I know that they are a very subjetive matters, but I think and knowing this situations now, I must be more skeptical about that. On the other hand, thank you very much for writing. Thank you again.
Your friend,

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