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Pete Mills: The Anatomy Of A Jazz Release

Mark Corroto By

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With the imminent death of the physical CD, two almost opposite phenomena have risen. Musicians either present their music in purely digital form or press limited edition LP vinyl. The digital route eliminates the need for a label, but the artist runs the risk that his or her music will be overlooked, becoming just another drop in the digital ocean. The vinyl option will of course, slow down (ain't no way to stop them) the digital pirates, but the expense of the pressing and mailing will guarantee that even a smaller number of fans will get a listen your music.

Digital maybe the future, but today's old school sticks with the physical copy.

The spring mixing and mastering moves onto a summer of photo shoots, graphic design, CD production, and the hiring of an expert to handle press relations, all tasks once handled by record company executives are now the artist's job. This new world is something many creative artists are not prepared for. The trade-off of doing these yourself allows for more control of the finished product, but it also requires Mills to negotiate with all the necessary suppliers. Fortunately, Cory Weeds of Cellar Jazz Club in Vancouver is a big Pete Mills fan. He agreed to release the disc on his Cellar Live Records label and provide distribution both digital and physical. In the old days, the label might have signed Pete and told him who his sidemen were going to be and which songs he was going to cover. They would dictate these things because they were taking the financial risks. Well, sort of. They might have owned the rights to the songs and the sidemen might also be in their stable of players. Today, the artist takes most of the risks, and the label well, much of the credit.

Holding a copy of the finished product, the question, was it worth it? A business school graduate would say no, but then again when was the last time a business school graduate played "Trinkle Tinkle"?


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