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Mass Media Blackout of Jazz-Rock Fusion Artists?


Tone Taster

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Ha, ha - the inbred demon child of the other thread. I'll lay my arms down on that one.

 

Okay, when I lived in Key West, I would never have heard Robben Ford and the Blue line if a DJ (who got fired for playing on the edge stuf fwhich was sent to the station as promo) didn't play it on the airwaves

 

Yeah it was 1992, and no internet

 

Guess what? There's still people with no internet LET ALONE NO COMPUTER !!

 

Anyway, as it stands The Jazz-Rock cats aren't played on Rock or Jazz (smooth-exlax) stations, or even the artsy fartsy public FM.

 

If there isn't a media push or a way for cats to take out corporate loans to pay off an independent promoter (who the majors pay for airplay), then people will never hear it.

 

Oh, and the result? Check the logic - No one will want to hear it - because it was never played in the first place - thus the "no public demand" premise.

 

Until you can prodice some demographic info that jazz-rock fusion has been test marketed in the MTV/VH1 and public radio arena and been rejected by the listening public, then there is a compelling case that there is a blackout.

 

But, on the other side, The Jazz Rock labels need to try harder for an airplay push. If they have done everything in their power, and still received no airplay, then the blackout premise is fortified

 

If it does succeed, and people call the stations and say "turn that crap off", then there ya go - Your "people don't want to hear it" position has some data to back it up

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I bought "Handfull of Blues" based on a personal recommendation from a guitar player frien who I really respect. He also turned me on to the Hellcasters second album. I have learned not to rely on radio for new albums that might be good. Of course I now tend to buy CD's 5 at a time and hope that I will like even one of them.
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College and public radio

 

WERS weekday jazz

 

WGBH- Eric in the Evening

 

Those programs cater to a broad jazz audience and include bop, swing, and other styles, but the contemporary stuff is represented.

 

The jazz/rock thing is also (and has been for a long time) somewhat underground and word of mouth. Most of what I learn of in new releases is reviews or little 1/6th page ads in Guitar Player or other music mags, a little bit from those radio sources, and some active searching at the record stores.

 

I also think that the genre label of "jazz-rock" is a little played out. I ought to know ;) I mean genre labels in general are kind of useless for a lot of stuff - Joni Mitchell's mid-late 70's work for example - is it jazz, pop, a sort of rock, or something else. "Music" pretty much does it for me.

 

I think the rhythms and sounds of jazz-rock that set stuff like Weather Report apart from more traditional jazz are more widely accepted now. I would tend to call things "contemporary jazz" or "classic jazz", and then you have guys like Christian McBride who do both, depending on the current project.

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I used Jazz-rock for lack of a better term. I'm talking about cats like Greg Howe, Chris Poland, Scott Henderson, and the like.

 

This music is already relegated to college or community radio.

 

Sammy Soccer Dad and Sally Soccer Mom listen to WBIG FM on the East Coast and KBIG FM on the West on their way to work

 

If it ain't on the BIG or their affiliates' stations, they won't hear it, and most of 'em won't tune into the college/aternative stations

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Originally posted by yZeCounsel:

I used Jazz-rock for lack of a better term. I'm talking about cats like Greg Howe, Chris Poland, Scott Henderson, and the like.

 

This music is already relegated to college or community radio.

There's really nothing wrong with that, as long as the artist can pull together a comprehensive marketing presentation.

 

One needs to keep tabs on the music and arts writers for the newspapers. A one-line mention in a big city paper like the Boston GLobe could be a huge bump, and a lot of smaller city papers like the arts/alternative weeklies run in-depth stories as people come through town. Smaller city newpapers in suburban communities often run press releases practically uneditied because they have so little staff.

 

Another trend is big city dailies using "regional" weekly insert sections for home subscribers in the suburban metro. These folks love the arts, and a blurb in the regional insert can easily be carried in the mother paper as well.

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The suits don't know how to sell it. They want stuff that's easy to sell to a large target demographic, so they can promise radio station owners they will be able to sell lots of ad time. Jazz of any sort is not gonna do that.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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Well, look at what happened the last time someone with the "jazz" label got big promo? We ended up with Kenny G! :o

 

FM radio does not exist to play music. It exists to expose advertising to target audiences.

 

You can't hawk viagra to modern rock listeners, because they've barely had their first erection yet (assuming they're male). Trying to convice country listeners that they should cave into "peer" pressure of adolescents is equally ridiculous.

 

Yes, historically the problem with big recording companies is that they would not invest the same promo dollars on projects that were projected to have smaller returns. Remember, it's the music business.

 

Er, anyway, the answer lies in defining the demographic for "jazz-rock" listeners and getting the appropriate advertisers to back you up for airplay.

 

It'll still be a bumpy ride, though, because there are fewer and fewer independent radio stations that have the luxury of choosing their own format. That means you're still relegated to odd hours like late-night Sunday/early-morning Monday when hardly anyone is listening anyway. Imagine trying to launch a prime-time ready sitcom in that time slot on TV? Ain't gonna work.

 

If you want prime time airplay, you have to be mainstream. You have to plain-vanilla your material down to the point that only 0.01% of the public will hate it. (It's not a matter of making more people like it, it's a matter of reducing the number of people that hate it.) When you've reached this level of "musicianship", and you haven't already pissed off the recording industry or worse yet the radio conglomerates, your target audience is determined, you get a label, and off you go to do your part to pimp someone else's flea and tick powder. :rolleyes:

 

[My apologies if this was already covered in the other thread. I'm heading over there now.]

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As much as I dislike the concept, I accept that you have to follow the formula if you want to be on commercial radio.

 

Bubba is not going to like it if his modern country station starts slipping in "Birds of Fire" on his drive home.

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Originally posted by Gruupi:

As much as I dislike the concept, I accept that you have to follow the formula if you want to be on commercial radio.

 

Bubba is not going to like it if his modern country station starts slipping in "Birds of Fire" on his drive home.

LOL, but what about some Hellecasters?
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Originally posted by RicBassGuy:

You can't hawk viagra to modern rock listeners, because they've barely had their first erection yet (assuming they're male).

I don't know, from the age of 11 through my teen years, I had to cover that sucker with a book constantly trying to walk down the hallways.

Man, life could be really, really, really hard back then

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Well, if Eddie Van Halen made a big splash with "Eruption", maybe the next big hit will be "Erection" which is certainly something any man can relate to!

 

If the censors come sniffing around, just tell them you are referring to "erector sets" in hopes of inspiring today's wayward youth to do something constructive for a change... building their community and whatnot...

 

No, I'm not talking adding to the community POPULATION...

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Ok, I see a lot of what I said was already covered in the other thread. Oh well. :rolleyes:

 

Does the mass media think "jazz" is a four-letter word? Yes, but to re-iterate, only from a marketing perspective. If jazz had the popularity today that it had prior to Elvis, the mass media would love jazz. Mass media just wants what's hot now; it doesn't have a personal vendetta against jazz.

 

Let's say you own a store that caters to people's sweet tooth. You sell sugary candy and make a nice profit. Should you start including health-conscious 10-course meals, too?

 

Would increasing the general public's exposure to jazz increase jazz's mass appeal? How can they like it if they've never heard it? [Reminds me of the "your stereo's too loud" wars in college between people from different backgrounds. The stereos were the same volume but the listeners acceptance of that volume changed depending on whether or not their music was being played. In my day it was rap vs. rock.] So this is a good point.

 

The meat industries play marketing games based on "scientific" studies to increase market share at the expense of lowering others. Who benefits from a study showing pork carries trichinosis? That too much beef clogs your arteries? That chickens are bred in unclean megafarms?

 

Maybe there needs to be a "study" that shows the fluffy radio music doesn't engage the brain in a "healthy" way that jazz does. Before you know it, we'll all be able to order a salad at a burger joint. (Of course it will actually have more calories with the dressing than the burger and fries, and cost more to boot, but at least we'll feel like we're eating healthier.) ;)

 

:wave:

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I think music has to be seen in it's cultural context. Asking for a "Jazz Rock" act to displace the Pussycat Dolls" in terms of airplay or whatever is a pretty tall order. It is similar to asking the movie "pi" (the number ... a movie titled after the number "pi" which isn't about "pi" but about a guy ... nevermind ) to sell more tickets that Speed 2 or Fast and Furious 3 (3??)Tokyo Drift. It is like asking people to give NPR a chance. I love NPR, my wife tolerates it.

 

You can't really expect to "upgrade" the level of music from one end of the country to the other in isolation from the rest of the culture. Even if you could, what an "upgrade" is would never be universally agreed upon. I guess "upgrading" our culture should be seen as a sphere with the lowest common denominator at the center with more discerning tastes being satiated further away from the center but not in any one direction. There is something about say good earthy blues that can be "center" or high altitiude in my analogy, but someone could be not interested in it at all and that is no reflection on how cultivated their tastes are.

 

I was listening to Rimsky-Korsakov yesterday, but I also was checking out the Pussycat Dolls. I bet a lot people can agree with the statement "The Pussycat Dolls are hot" than "Rimsky-Korsakov rocks badder than anyone listed in the 'Black Metal' thread". Is "Black Metal" a cultivated taste or a base lowest-common denominator type thing?

 

I think it is sad that there are a lot of places that don't have a lot of "high cultural" options for audiences or for kids that are aquiring their tastes. It is a lot like food where my kids can eat just about anything and have tastes for "good food", but too many adults (or young adults) think a good meal is going to Chili's. You can't expect a good reaction when "challenging" someones palette when they've been trained to respond only to salt and sugar content. Same could be said for asking people ears to hear "jazz rock", or for that matter Jazz or 20th century classical music.

check out some comedy I've done:

http://louhasspoken.tumblr.com/

My Unitarian Jihad Name: Brother Broadsword of Enlightened Compassion.

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Along similar lines, isn't it the case that most newspapers are written at an eighth grade reading level? I know that an important part of editing in a paper is making sure the thing reads at the appropriate level. I think Guitar Player always was better to me than say Guitar World because it seemed less dumbed down. I'd bet that was due almost entirely on what reading level they expect of their audience.

 

You just can't expect the music that dominates a society to be any different then any other aspect of the culture that pervades it.

check out some comedy I've done:

http://louhasspoken.tumblr.com/

My Unitarian Jihad Name: Brother Broadsword of Enlightened Compassion.

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Dude unfortunately like we were talkin in the other thread, people don't have the attention span to appreciate jazz. It is a thing of the past presently. I mean with young people.

 

I am not talking young people in music schools or whatever.

 

I agree, I would love to hear more stuff. That is what NPR is..

 

It would rule to hear Hellecasters. Jerry Donahue is phenomenal!!!

 

My former drummer worked at a rock station. One of teh best ones in the country-- literally the only one not owned by clearchannel. They still play the same old shit.

 

They do studies constantly and the oldies sell, the new bands nobody cares about.

 

He said bands like Alice in Chains still go through the roof. Thats why you still hear more classic rock on some radio stations than current rock. I think rock music is being overshadowed by hip hop just like when disco was big but this time it has its head being held under the water a VERY long time. There is a new documentary coming out, I saw a clip from it. I think it is called, 'before the music dies' or something. Anyways, one of the guys interviewed is some big whig producer and he says, "if Ray Charles came out now, nobody would care and he wouldn't get signed. If Stevie Wonder came out today he wouldn't be noticed. Why? Because they are both blind." I wish I knew the guy's name who said it. I will try to find the link. Anyways, it has alot of artists on it discussing the state of music today.

 

As for jazz, good luck with all that (getting mainstream play) I just don't think there is a mass market for it amongst young people. The more changes and sophistication it has the less they will pay attention.

 

Nobody cares how good you are at an instrument. I mean relative to your image. If you look like a total badass and wear a bunch of flashy clothes and date some hollywood actress, maybe the hype could carry you so you will get the credit you deserve, but everything is all visual first.

 

We musicians tend to be more about ears, but the public tends to be more about eyes.

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Originally posted by musicalhair:

I think it is sad that there are a lot of places that don't have a lot of "high cultural" options for audiences or for kids that are aquiring their tastes. It is a lot like food where my kids can eat just about anything and have tastes for "good food", but too many adults (or young adults) think a good meal is going to Chili's. You can't expect a good reaction when "challenging" someones palette when they've been trained to respond only to salt and sugar content. Same could be said for asking people ears to hear "jazz rock", or for that matter Jazz or 20th century classical music.

Astute observation that I can relate to. I wasn't used to listening Jazz (and still have a ways to go) but I know there's something there and I'm working on it. This statement, I can understand and believe that it applies to the current status of music.
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Originally posted by musicalhair:

Is that like saying you were discussing your desire for something but in no way acknowledging the impossibility of it?

 

Or are you saying the thread was hyjacked?

 

Honestly, I'm not sure what you mean.

It's not that I think you are way off, But I was just wondering about the blackout, not why aren't these guys rock stars like Metallica.

 

I inferred that that's where you thought I was coming from

 

Getting some airplay and exposure in major media outlets doesn't necessarilly have to be on the same level as rock star status

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Hey Starcaster,

 

I knew a girl a long time ago that said something I really took with me. She was reading a book and I asked her if it was a good book. She said yes it was but that she couldn't really said she liked it. She was frustrated by it, in that the choices made by the characters bothered her.

 

Essentially she was saying the book was challenging her emotionally, trying to get her mad. "I learned to judge a book on it's merits, not just if I like it", is the quote from her that I remember her by.

check out some comedy I've done:

http://louhasspoken.tumblr.com/

My Unitarian Jihad Name: Brother Broadsword of Enlightened Compassion.

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Hey yZe,

 

I think the major media outlets are the least of your worries. I've heard amazing cool music and found good radio stations for "art music" in every big city I've been in, and around towns with good colleges for that matter.

 

If anything I think things could actually get better. I'm seeing movies in my area were I live now that I used to have to go into NYC to see 10 years ago.

 

It is easier to see greener pastures; but coffee houses, tea rooms and book stores in all sorts of areas give audiences access to new and different acts, as do all the various art and music festivals in just about every town I've been in.

 

I think I share your concerns, but I just can't imagine how even a mildly different world for artists like Kurt Rosenwinkel or Henry Kaiser would look short of a kind of cultural revolution.

 

I think a select few can relate to the ideas contained in their art, and it is up to that select few to go out and decidely select it for themselves. I think the fault, if any, lies with those too lazy to join the cultural elite. you know, too lazy to listen to an 11 minute song and the reflect on it's meaning, when they can listen for 3 minutes and go get something done. ;)

check out some comedy I've done:

http://louhasspoken.tumblr.com/

My Unitarian Jihad Name: Brother Broadsword of Enlightened Compassion.

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To reclarify, I am not talking about playing straight ahead jazz or bebop on a rock station or playing fusion on a country station (unless it is country fusion like Danny gatton, Brett Masons solo records, Hellecasters, etc. . )

 

I believe that some of the fusion with the accaessible Rock edge is some of Mac alpine's, Howe's, Polands stuff

 

I don't see why Rock radio WBIG can't play some of that stuff

 

There are no demographics to show that people hate it and don't want to hear it

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I am sure there are tons of instrumentals that could be introduced on rock radio. People would like it if it was catchy and they heard it alot. They like Frankenstein, and Satrioni's stuff. They still play that on the radio. There is no reason why something good instrumentally couldn't be cool now. Here all I hear is the occasional Satch song, Frankenstein, or Gary Hoey (seasonally).

 

I know there is better stuff than that. I love Frankenstein but cmon it is so over played. Satch is cool too but none of his cool shit is on the radio (in my opinion). I hear like 2 songs VERY rarely and both of them aren't nearly his coolest stuff. I would love to hear Power Cosmic leading into Circles or something. But I know that is totally pushing the envelope. I am just a silly guitarist!!

 

Hellecasters rock

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1) how many of the bands you're talking about are on major labels with the kind of MONEY to make a dent with the ... what are they called ... that liason between the labels and the radio station comglomerates. I think they're called "indies" in a really cool mocking of what the word would actually mean. (the follow up is how many need to throw around that kind of money to make a profit)

 

2) How many of the bands you're talking about have sing-songy catchy choruses that people can sing and remember after they get in the elevator to go to their office. "I don't think you're ready for this jelly ... Is my body to bootylicious for ya baby" is really catchy. When Greg Howe does something that catchy, then we'll start talking seriously.

 

3) Sometimes a band "has" to be plastered all over the city and on every radio station in the top 5 in ratings in that city all day long just to sell out the place they play in that town. They need the exposure. The Allman Brothers don't need air play or advertising anymore and they'll sell out Beacon Theater in New York for 7 consescutive days four times a year if they wanted to. Britany Spears wouldn't, Fall Out Boy wouldn't either. They might get a week one time-- without any promotion or air play. If the are playing Madison Square Garden they had better have a huge track record with serious fans or they had better have a major PR blitz which includes buying radio time.

 

3) some artists have arrangers multiple producers, songwriting teams, coreographers, dancers, all kinds of people out of sight playing music (even Sabbath's keyboard player is in this catagory) so they must sell out everything or no one gets paid. These aren't just musicians that are used to getting stiffed :D Greg Howe shows up and plays a show and knows that night if it made money. Fall Out Boy needs two accountants and a math professor to figure it out.

 

The only thing common between the acts you're talking about and that which you're comparing them to is that they make "music". Everything else about their business is different. To go back to a food analogy it is Macdonalds vs a four star restaurant, one clearly makes better food, but from a business perspective the differences are more about overhead and operational costs and all the dollars and sense stuff.

 

If Greg Howe's publicist worked his ass off for air play on "WPLJ" in New York he have victory if one song got played one time in prime time drive. That would boost his shows like nothing compared to what he'd get if he got an interview on WSOU a college station in Jersey.

 

What the people want to hear has like nothing to do with it. What they'll keep listening to, out of who is demanding and bending over backwards to get that air play for their artists is more what it is about.

check out some comedy I've done:

http://louhasspoken.tumblr.com/

My Unitarian Jihad Name: Brother Broadsword of Enlightened Compassion.

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Well, IMHO most fusion, fingerstyle and jazz fans belong to a niche market. There is not much point in lamenting the fact that mass media is not interested. The question:

 

How do we market the product to the segment of the listening public that likes that type of music? Sure, as much as possible give the average listener a chance to hear it, too, but focus on the market you have. Which in our case quite often is: other guitar players!

 

Or am I off-base in thinking this way?

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You're right Eric. One of the primary rules of marketing is to focus on known customers.

 

The breakdown for what we're talking about goes something like this:

 

1. All humans

2. People who like music

3. People who like instrumental music

4. People who like lots of soloing

 

So who are those people who narrow into category 4? Are you likely to find them at music schools and guitar shops; or are you going to find them in the shopping malls and amusement parks?

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