Greenleaf Music on AAJ

Check out this All About Jazz article on Greenleaf Music.

Greenleaf began its life more traditionally, with a distributor and a shelf presence in brick-and-mortar music stores for its first two records, including Douglas’ Mountain Passages with his Nomad ensemble. But as 2005 progressed, Friedman sensed that online retail – the right to which he reserved in Greenleaf’s contract with its distributor – was increasingly the way most effectively to reach Greenleaf’s audience. The strange result is that the Grammy-nominated Keystone became available in stores only subsequent to its nomination.

Besides Mountain Passages and Keystone, the other two records in the Greenleaf catalog are Kneebody’s self-titled debut and the Douglas quintet’s Live at the Bimhuis, from its 2002 European tour. The latter is the first in Greenleaf’s Paperback Series, which, Douglas said, “involves recordings that ought to be out there but that would very rarely get a chance to see the light of day, because of marketing and promotion constraints.” The Paperbacks are professionally recorded, but feature minimalist packaging and are sold only online and at a reduced price ($9 for one set, or $15 for both sets of Live at the Bimhuis).

WOMMA: Word of Mouth Marketing Association

WOMMA: Word of Mouth Marketing Association

The essence of the WOMMA Code comes down to the Honesty ROI:

* Honesty of Relationship: You say who you’re speaking for
* Honesty of Opinion: You say what you believe
* Honesty of Identity: You never obscure your identity

As independent artists, we do a lot of word of mouth marketing, and often ask our friends and fans to do it as well. These seem like very sensible guide lines, especially in the internet forum/blog world. One lone Grammy RSVP

One take on the intersection of the Grammy’s and jazz. One lone Grammy RSVP

In the upper echelons of pop music, success is measured in millions of units sold and, it seems, tons of bling on display. Nominees in the album of the year category have total sales of nearly 15 million copies.

In Holman’s section of the Grammy program, sales totals seem to be short a few zeros — some 15,000 units combined for all five large jazz ensemble finalists, according to a Nielsen SoundScan tally of sales through retail outlets. Not surprisingly, the winning entry, Holland’s album, accounts for 12,000 of those scanned sales. The John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble’s “A Blessing” is at the low end of the SoundScan tally, with 100 copies.

The artists and their labels point out that their actual totals, supplemented by sales at gigs and through websites — and typically not tracked by SoundScan — is closer to 20,000. That’s still just a sliver of the 5.2 million copies Mariah Carey’s “The Emancipation of Mimi” has sold.

I am a member of NARAS, but I didn’t vote this year. The jazz categories were the only ones that I knew any of the music well enough to vote on, and even in those categories there were nominated recordings that I hadn’t heard.

Last year they did a cool thing by making all of the record of the year nominees available for free on iTunes to voting members. That made me comfortable voting in that category, because I had heard all of the records. This year they made more nominated music available, but they did it through yahoo! Music, which is PC only. I am a Mac user, and didn’t go through the extra trouble to get on a different machine to listen to the stuff. I ended up not voting. It seems to me like the percentage of Mac users among NARAS members is probably much higher than the general population.

Our music preferences are driven by the crowd as much as taste

Boing Boing: Our music preferences are driven by the crowd as much as taste

This ties in nicely with some of our recent discussion about why people buy or don’t buy music that has seemingly equal placement and presence.

I think this is the one place where magazine awards and poll placement can be helpful. It makes people think that other people like the stuff, so they are more likely to follow suit and like it themselves.

You have to be popular to get popular. As Brother Ray said, “you gotta have something, before you can get something, how do you get your first is still a mystery to me.” Apparently he had it figured out.

New York Philharmonic to Make Concerts Available for Digital Downloading – New York Times

New York Philharmonic to Make Concerts Available for Digital Downloading – New York Times

The fact that the NY Phil is entering the legal download world is cool, but the very exciting thing is the recording of new works.

Mr. Mehta also announced another recording deal, an arrangement with New World Records to release two CD’s a year of new works commissioned and played by the Philharmonic in their world premieres. Those recordings, too, will be available by download, said the orchestra’s spokesman, Eric Latzky.

If you want to download another recording of Mozart 40, that’s fine, but the fact that new works by living composers are getting recorded is the real excitement for me. That is the kind of development that can help the arts continue to thrive.

Wired News: Digital Music Biz Ain’t Booming

Wired News: Digital Music Biz Ain’t Booming

I’m what I call business-model sensitive. That is, if the way something is marketed or priced doesn’t appeal, I don’t buy it — unless I desperately want it. I prefer the price of a product to bear some relation both to the cost of producing it and its value to me.

It’s this same business-model sensitivity that causes me to forgo cable television. Why should I pay for unlimited access when I don’t watch more than an hour a day? It seems akin to paying for the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet when I just want coffee.

Some would call such behavior cheap. I take great offense at such character assassination, although it may be true.

Either way, for someone who is business-model sensitive (or cheap, if you must), the digital music industry doesn’t add up.

Here you have a product — recorded music — that costs very little to produce. Sure, you can spend a fortune on sound studios and videos. But even an amateurish recording of a live performance sounds OK. Nearly everyone knows some struggling band that has put out a decent-sounding release on a shoestring.

Once a recording exists, reproducing it costs next to nothing. Because most of us pay a flat monthly fee for internet access, there’s no extra cost to send or receive a music file. CDs are also cheap. A pack of blank ones sells for a few dollars.

Do people really think like this? If she is representative if the general public, it is no wonder that we have trouble getting people to buy music of any lasting interest. Maybe our education efforts should focus on helping people develop a perceived value for art, and maybe our artistic efforts should focus on non-disposable art.