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Ken Hatfield: The Economics of Music

By Published: April 2, 2004
While I don't pretend to be an economist, and I don't know the inner workings of other labels, I can see independent labels such as Palmetto and Thirsty Ear, as well as artist-run labels like my own Arthur Circle Music and Mark Elf's Jen Bay, that are committed to this "small publishing house approach." I encourage other musicians to consider the pertinence of this model for their own circumstances, and I ask audiences to support the music such labels produce by both purchasing their music (as opposed to downloading it for free) and going to hear their artists in live performances whenever possible. Through this type of support such independent labels can remain independent, and their artists can create music that just might elevate the standards of what the audience expects of a musical experience. And in the process we can begin to reclaim the attention of a wider audience by restoring the significance of a music that has been marginalized over the years to the point that even non-jazz fans get the humor in the joke about the jazz musician who wins $150 million in the lottery. Asked at the press conference what he intends to do with his winnings, he says, "I figured I'd keep playing jazz gigs until the money runs out."

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Photo Credit
Ken Korsh

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