There is a discussion on The Washington DC Network re: returning jazz back to commercially advertising radio stations. The discussion was initiated by my close friend and native Pittsburgher, Mickey Bass, an extraordinarily talented and venerated bassist. After reading the developing thread there I left a short comment but have decided to start another thread on this network that perhaps will move in another direction. Please join in both discussions if you like. It's all good.LAZY BIRD, ARISE!
Sometimes we have to look in the mirror and discern what it is we can do to promote our own interests. Expecting third parties to do it is pretty much over in today's world if it, in fact, were ever a good way to do things. The world of the "establishment" is crumbling at light speed before our eyes. If we continue to try to use the establishment models, we will be lost in the shuffle. It has already been pointed out and is easily clear to see that commercial radio stations always existed and depended entirely upon advertising dollars based on the market slice of listeners that paid attention to the station. Jazz has hardly had that kind of patronage since the 40s.
You can always tell the mission of the advertisers by the type of ads that are being run on the commercial stations. The black stations are promoting slavery and ignorance. Not directly from the music so much as from what they sell in between the music. For example, you will learn where the pawnshops are, how to rent furniture, how to get a good bail bondsman, loan shark, etc. on the hip hop/soul stations. Don't take my word for it... listen and hear for yourself. When I talk to my 6th - 12th grade and college students, they report that they listen to nothing else because the other stations don't play "our" music. I remind them what they will never hear in between "their" music on those stations, i.e., the Dow Jones Industrial Average, how to save or invest money, how to get a mortgage, scholarship, health information, learning systems, etc. All they would have to do is turn the dial to get that information but they are so indoctrinated they they won't do it... because the other types of music (classical, pop, adult contemporary and jazz) repel their sensibilities.
In addition to that let's not forget that music has been largely relegated to insignificance in the public schools so the youth are listening to machines and don't even have a clue that human beings can make their own music. The private school students who learn music are learning European classical and Broadway style and don't have a clue what improvisation or live spontaneous jazz is either. If anyone would try to operate a commercial radio station exclusively for jazz, especially the straight-ahead mainstream variety, they would soon go out of business before they attracted a sponsor. The few public stations that have jazz on their playlists have to beg 2-3 times per year to get enough public support to even stay on the air. You cannot solve a problem with the same models that created the problem.
So here we are having a discussion online (where all the fences have come down, and the middle-man has no role to play at all) discussing going back to the days of payola, agents and middleman carpetbaggers who prevented our music from being played, who created the hit parade mentality and who target the 11-12 year old tabula rasa minds with as much crap as they can steal. Does it make sense going back to those models? Wake up people! It's a new world that will never go back to the old world. Years ago the major advertisers (like the largest, Proctor & Gamble), reduced their advertising budgets 60-70% on network radio and television. Super Bowl half-time has trouble getting money from them. Where has their money gone? Right here on the internet.
Advertising money is spent on our attention. A brand means nothing unless someone looks at it for more than a couple seconds. We look at YouTube videos for 51-20 minutes at a time. There are millions of us on MySpace providing all the content and value and attention needed for Rupert Murdoch, et al to make close to $100 million/month in commercial advertising and share none of it with us. Wake up people!!!
We can have our own MySpace for almost nothing. We can have our own radio podcast or videocast for almost nothing and load it up with our own content. It will attract the attention of end users that want to experience our offerings and their are many valuable sequelae that flow from that. The techological revolution is decimating the old models and creating new opportunities for us that are at our fingertips.
The athletes figured it out... now they make millions individually. I remember when they used to follow the jazz musicians around the club circuit. We still hide our magic under a bushel, don't talk about it to our audience even when we have a microphone in our hands, and ignore the non-musician patrons who DO come to the clubs while we hover in the corner talking to each other about our sad state of affairs. I see it every week. Tell me I'm wrong. Turn on the network media and see if you can find a panel of jazz musicians talking about our craft in intricate detail the way the athletes and ex-athletes talk about their sport. I have seen the "immaculate reception" over 1000 times in the past 35 years. Wouldn't it be nice to hear a Sonny Rollins or Art Tatum solo passage that often? It would take a different world to do that. So why don't we wake up and make a different world and quit wasting our time lamenting why the carpetbaggers have abandoned us? They were never our allies in the first place if you want the truth. Can you say Blue Note Records?
"Without vision the people perish." - Proverbs 29:18 If the vision isn't correct, it isn't vision but myopia or perhaps even blindness. When the blind lead the blind, they both fall off the cliff. Can you say Alan Greenspan?
The entire future of intellectual property is in flux (as is everything else in the world) and will probably wind up in a different configuration than we are accustomed to seeing.
I don't know about you, but I don't care anymore about commercially advertising radio than I do black and white television or silent movies. I'm too busy promoting my brand across cyberspace and I suggest it would behoove us all to do likewise to the extend that we can look ahead and not backward.
Please add your opinions to this discussion and see what happens.
Re: Blue Note CDP 7-85177-2
Can be recited or sung to "Lazy Bird" by John Coltrane, Jowcol Music - BMI
Lyrics by Nelson E. Harrison, Timeslice Music/Mayah Publishing - ASCAP
Time for you to wake up,
Lazy bird, there's a sun on the rise…
There's a cause to take up,
Lazy bird, keep your eye on the prize…
The early bird catches the worms…
The lazy bird fetches the germs…
Wasted time you'll make up,
Lazy bird, if you wing to the skies…
You were born to be free,
Lazy bird, time to rise off the fence…
Raise your sights and you'll see
What your claim on the skies represents…
Don't settle for less than you are…
There is no lid on the jar…
When you're flying carefree
Open skies are your true residence…
Accomplishments… will commence…
When… you… get… up… and… fly.
Author Copyright © 1998 - 2009 by Nelson E. Harrison, ASCAP PAu 2-413-092
All rights Reserved without Prejudice
Article 1 Constitution of the United States and 1-207 U.C.C.