A Fireside Chat with Publicist Don Lucoff
The record labels are trying to figure out how to create a way to monitor and codify it to control the revenue stream, but once that gets ironed out and the internet becomes more integrated, in terms of the commerce and the rhythm of the record industry, there's going to be a lot of growth there. I also think that jazz education becoming more integrated in our business can only do great things. How the IAJE has grown from a very insider's type of education driven conference to embracing the recording industry has created a lot of opportunities for record labels to have more visibility and market their artists at this conference, which is getting to the young kids early that are dedicated jazz fans and musicians who are going to be buying CDs for the rest of their life. That can only help the image and the outlook for the music.
This year, IAJE is going to stream Thursday night concerts and that's going to be uplinked worldwide by Global Music Network. That will take the IAJE to even a bigger audience. That's a way that the internet is playing a role in this conference.
FJ: I was informed that although retail sales are at that trifle number, internet jazz sales are right around ten percent.
DL: I've heard that number. We all know that the internet is definitely a growth situation. It's gone from three to six percent from last year, from what I've heard, in terms of overall sales retail. So it's doubled. Now six percent, ten percent, those are different percentages of different kinds of numbers. I think what they're referring to is ten percent of the genre, of all the genres that are sold, jazz accounts for ten percent of that, which would make sense. It is going to be more than retail because people who are logging on and plugged into the internet, it's the jazz demographic. It's the more educated, male adult consumer, who is primarily buying, historically have been buying jazz CDs.
FJ: Record companies seem to always be looking for the illusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow with the "next big artist," whom do you see as fitting that mold?
DL: There is a number of artists. I would look at Cassandra Wilson, Patricia Barber, Greg Osby, Kurt Elling, Joe Lovano, now, those are all Blue Note artists, but on that roster, those particular artists are all artists that have expanded their audience and have reached larger audiences. Joe Lovano went out with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Dianne Reeves on a huge tour. You look at artists that reach into other musical genres that have played with pop people so they can draw from different audiences like Brian Blade. He's an artist that has recorded and toured with Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Seal. That's going to really help things. It will bring more people into jazz.
Going out and doing a thirty-five city tour backed by Camel Cigarettes. Getting into cigar bars and pizza joints and alternative rooms, non-jazz clubs to an under-twenty market (Blue Note New Directions Tour), that's going to help the growth of jazz. Chick Corea doing a classical record ( Corea Concerto, Sony Classical), that's nothing new, but it all helps, trying to go beyond the jazz barometer.
FJ: As we close out the century, what do you foresee as the biggest challenge for the music in the century to come?
DL: For artists to get work and have their music heard by as many people as possible because that's really going against the grain. People don't want to go out as much. They want to stay home. There aren't as many jazz clubs as there used to be. It's getting harder and harder for artists to get work in America. The internet now is starting to stream concerts, so people have another reason to stay at home. There is nothing like the live experience and jazz is a love art form and it always has been. It's based on improvisation. It's based on feeling and energy. It all starts with that and if you take that away, you're really cutting the art form off at its knees. That's the biggest obstacle that the music has to continually try to overcome.
FJ: What is your goal for DL Media in the new year?
DL: My goal is to constantly get my artists in places, to go beyond Down Beat and the big three ( Jazziz, Jazz Times ). It is great to get a cover on Greg Osby in Jazziz. That means so much to an artist and to have him reviewed in the New York Times, I can't tell you what that does. It's great. It's great exposure, but, constantly trying to convey the importance to television executives to give jazz a chance when they have this stereotype that nobody cares about jazz and it's too static and there is no movement and people turn the channel.