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All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Jazz and the Net

They Will Never Die

By Published: January 3, 2005
These folks, the Jazz friendly audience, constitute one of two groups that represent the greatest potential for new listeners. They are the 25-40 year olds who have disposable income. The other group is kids, under twenty five.

But what about those over forty? I hate to generalize but most people over forty don't buy new music, and for the most part, already have their musical tastes set in stone. Within this group lies the existing Jazz audience, and I wouldn't waste any marketing money preaching to the converted.

How to reach the Jazz friendly audience? Well, I have a somewhat radical approach here, one that will no doubt be ridiculed in some quarters. The JFA, as I'll call them, have certain preconceived notions about that word, Jazz. It means so many different things to so many people that it no longer means anything.

Duke Ellington hated labels. He told Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie that the worst thing they could do was call their music Bebop. One of the most complex and intriguing musical forms ever created was saddled with a ridiculous moniker, which belittled its true nature.

And now it's the same with Jazz, a word that came of New Orleans brothels.

So step number one for our friends at Concord is to drop the word Jazz. And don't create one giant website that will only serve to intimidate new listeners. Instead, market the music by focusing on the feelings it generates, which are diverse and universal.

A few years ago, Joel Dorn, the fame record impresario who manages to be reborn every decade with a new label, purchased the Muse catalog and wanted to find a way to reissue the music with a new approach. He put together a series of compilations like Jazz for Lovers , Jazz for a Rainy Afternoon , etc. They were very successful.

New listeners didn't have to spend time trying to figure out which artists played what kind of Jazz, but instead, knew they were buying something that would provoke a certain feeling. And then something magical happened: the artists who were included in these compilations, began to sell their CDs because people began investigating music on individual tracks.

Yes, I know, Concord has already done this, with such recordings as Jazz Moods: Sounds of Winter.

Remember, there is no one answer to the mystery of how to market this music. The compilation idea is one, and its been proven successful, particularly by Starbucks.

Next time: Lifestyle Websites, Ring Tones, Downloads, Viral Marketing and more.

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