Who’s your daddy? (Downbeast – music blog)

From Jeff Gauthier, on the cool new Cryptogramophone blog, Who’s your daddy? (Downbeast – music blog):

“If most new commercially available jazz CDs sell between 600-1500 units, and the average break-even point is somewhere around 3000 units, how can independent jazz labels survive, let alone take chances on edgy or unknown artists?”

The trick is to make the CDs for less money. It’s all about figuring out your priorities. Does spending $1500 extra on super cool artwork make the music better? It just added 150 or more units to the break even point. To some people the visual art is a important as the aural art. That’s a valid point, so those folks might have to save some money someplace else.

I’ve been very lucky to have John Worthington, who produces my releases and does much of the technical audio work for the same money I get (which is the last money to come in). That method keeps up both interested in controlling the costs.

The future of recording good, boundary stretching music lies in a concept that I have subscribed to for some time, and that Jeff Gauthier states so well over at Downbeast:

“So, here’s a thought. What if the process of making CDs could be approached as a partnership? What if the artist and the label could agree to work together toward creative solutions where both sides are taking equal risks?”

That’s the only way it will work.

One thought on “Who’s your daddy? (Downbeast – music blog)”

  1. I agree that for many artists and companies it makes a lot of sense to make CDs as inexpensively as possible. However, if you’re going to go the full nine yards with the best musicians and high-end audio, why not put a little extra effort into the packages?

    I would argue that beautiful art and creative graphics really do add to the listening experience. If people can download music inexpensively, and can’t tell the difference between MP3s and AIFF files (many can’t), why should they bother to buy a CD? Beautiful art, great photographs, and interesting liner notes all add to the listener’s appreciation by putting them in the artist’s head, as well as in a frame of mind to appreciate and understand the music. For people who used to collect LPs, album covers became like fetish objects. This approach is not for everyone, but at Cryptogramophone (and other labels like ECM and Winter and Winter), we try to draw from the LP experience by making beautiful and interesting packages. Our audience knows that they will get something special whenever they buy our CDs. Since the patent ran out on the Digipak, it has become a more affordable option, and it is a more collectible and eco-friendly package than a jewel case. I think our audience appreciates this as well.

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