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Silver Linings: AAJ @ 25

Silver Linings: AAJ @ 25
Michael Ricci By

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A quarter century commitment to capturing the spirit of the music and documenting the people who make it.
All About Jazz recently celebrated its 25th year online. Crazy as it sounds, "AAJ," as it has come to be known, was originally a sandbox to help me learn the ins-and-outs of the infant World Wide Web. Fast forward five years and the double whammy of Y2K and 9/11 sunk my software business (another story). But AAJ was built of sterner stuff. We navigated through such disruptive forces as malicious hackers and the revenue-draining vampire that is social media, and over time have established what is perhaps the most powerful and influential voice for jazz advocacy online.

Wayback Machine

Back in the day, readers accessed All About Jazz via a 14.4k dial-up modem—a stone-age artifact by today's high-speed standards. To paint a quick picture, 1995 predated banner ads and "webrings" were a thing. The early days of the web were wide open... if you dreamt big and relished a 5" thick manual on HTML, then anything was possible. I found the web to be this magnificent place of like-minded people who were equally as excited about its infinite potential. My first inclination was to build a website for cartoonists (yet another story), but I decided on jazz and made this guy our official mascot.

We've come a long way, baby!

If there is one constant over the last two and half decades, it's AAJ's ongoing commitment to expansion. Every day "the boys and girls down in R&D" are cooking up new ideas. As a result, we've created a platform that touches everyone with an interest in jazz: from enthusiasts looking to discover great music to professionals looking to promote an album or an event. It is an exciting ride, because AAJ is never a finished product. We embrace constant changes in technology, and we modernize our platform to sustain our future. Our commitment to our community, to our content, to our vision and our shared love of jazz will continue to guide us well into the future.

25 years is nice, but what's next?

Well, a new store for starters. It's a quantum leap forward and includes all the bells and whistles you have come to expect from a modern shop. We'll make blogging available to our community members with an interest in writing informally about the music. We're also considering not one, but two podcasts. But without a doubt, the most important project in 2020 revolved around ticketing and broadcasting (live)streamed events. Going forward, the plan is to ticket our own exclusive events and also partner with venues and festivals to ticket and broadcast their events and help them expand their audience through our broadcast platform. Thanks in part to Jazz Near You (which we launched in 2012), we have established a network of venues and festivals spanning the globe and we can work with an international cadre of presenters to broadcast regular jazz events at AAJ. Call us a virtual jazz club, but this represents the most significant advancement for All About Jazz since Jazz Near You and offers tremendous potential for everyone involved.

Pressing on with all possible dispatch

COVID-19 forced us to take a long hard look at our business model resulting in sweeping changes. Event ticketing and broadcasting was born out of necessity to serve a new livestream market. Though an ambitious undertaking, it represents one of several sustainability projects developed and completed over the last eight months. We have done everything in our power to weather the economic storm and believe we have taken the proper steps to ensure AAJ continues to play a vital role for jazz online well into the future.

We'd like to close by thanking our fund-drive supporters for believing in our vision and supporting us along the way. You did your part to make this all possible. Thank you!

If you've enjoyed All About Jazz over the years and would like to support us, please click the DONATE button.

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All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

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