Branding – part two

Well, I was just over at the jazzatwingspread blog reading the comments that have been posted thus far. It seems that one or more people are hot and bothered, and I can understand why. I said that I was a friend of MCG Jazz, and I am. I like the Pittsburgh venue, and applaud the quality of the music they present – both live and on CD. I believe their hearts are in the right place. What worries me is how awfully hard it is to stay clean when you’re playing ball.

One anonymous commenter wrote “The big record companies only look at sales numbers and not in devloping the art. Members of your own panel are guilty of this.” Absolutely true. I took a look at the list of attendees and mentally crossed off several as being high on the list of exploiters, those who I know for a fact have taken advantage of jazz artists.

Another comment, actually a long rant posted by “conscience,” made several good points, one of which is that artists who wish to perform or offer clinics at the IAJE convention have to pay their own way and receive no fee. Having been a jazz publicist for many years, I am all too familiar with the rationale – “it’s good exposure.” Jazz musicians are tired of giving it away, and I don’t blame them.

Conscience also wrote “Branding just sounds like raising the price of jazz – rather than making the music and its infrastructure and universe more inclusive,” and suggested the result would be similar to the pharmaceutical industry where drug prices are so high only because they must cover the cost of advertising.

I am all for raising jazz awareness and increasing revenues, but only if the music makers, the artists themselves, get their fair share. Without them, there is no music.