[Dixielandjazz] Top 10 Reasons--decline of Dixieland >>Correction THE REASON

BudTuba at aol.com BudTuba at aol.com
Wed Aug 6 15:04:56 PDT 2003

In a message dated 7/26/03 4:05:08 PM Eastern Daylight Time, csuhor at zebra.net 

> 10. Your call. I'm flat out of speculations...
The discussion of reasons for the decline of Dixieland seemed to miss the 
real reason, and that is, music as an entertainment outlet is TOO COSTLY to be 
feasible.  Our band has played in two monthly gigs for several years and for 
that we take $200 plus the pot for one of the gigs, and $100 plus the pot for the 

In trying to talk up the lower paying proprietor, he explained, "I love 
having you guys play here and the folks love it, but I can make more money by just 
turning on the sports TV and taking the crowd I get without your band."

Now, we have rationalized the two gigs, because they are fun to play and they 
generate leads to other gigs (generally private) that pay better.  Since our 
role to is promote early jazz in the community, this rationalization keeps us 
before the public, provides a place where potential event producers can hear 
us and assess the response.

What has the trend been in music (of all kinds)?

1.  Fewer musicians playing the gig (smaller orchestras, bands, instrument 

2.  Technology replacing live music (DJ's. MIDI accompaniment, canned radio 
or CD background music, TVs with music videos)

3.  Consolidation of music providers (even in dixieland, Jim Cullum traveling 
to remote cities to put on concerts, replaces local bands, name acts 
performing with the phil, CDs through big distributors, Branson)

4.  Combining music with other production (musicians who dance, drum corps 
marching to choreography while playing, stage shows with musician/actors.)

What all of this falls under is the economic definition of improving 
productivity.  (Fewer employees providing a product at less cost and more profit to 
the producers.)  When you have a group that is inflexible to reducing the number 
of players because the style requires it (Item 1 above), that group has to 
either perform to larger audiences (Item 3 above), or take less per player pay 
(which is what we do).

Of course...if we could just learn to dance the Charleston while playing it, 
maybe we can get a big TV gig??      

Bud Taylor
Smugtown Stompers
Rochester, NY
Traditional Jazz since 1958

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list