[Dixielandjazz] The Ultimate Jazz Venue?

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Thu Jan 27 06:10:05 PST 2005

Will this become a trend? One more nail in live music's coffin ? Imagine 10
years from now when the ultimate I Pod can store all of Bill Haesler's
record collection. You could walk into Haesler's OZOKOM JAZZ CELLER, and
just call out the tune and artist you wish to hear, for a minimum fee of
course. ;-) VBG  

As Joseph Conrad said (Marlon Brando too): "The Horror, the horror."

Steve Barbone

January 27, 2005 - NY TIMES - By ASHLEE VANCE

IPods Act as D.J.'s at Clubs Where Patrons Call the Tunes-

WHOSE iPod is this?" yelled the manager. "Is this the Pogues?"

Bar managers do not typically ask their clientele about the songs pumping
out of the bar's music system. They tend to have intimate knowledge of the
jukebox, or leave music questions to the D.J. But that is changing in some
bars, where customers who bring their own iPods have started to take control
of the tunes.

Nic Nepo, the manager inquiring about the folk-punk band the Pogues,
oversees an iPod night every Tuesday at his bar, the Tonic Room, in the
Lincoln Park neighborhood. On a typical night, about 10 people bring their
iPods loaded with a special playlist for the occasion. They sign up, wait
for their turn and then plug into the Tonic Room's sound system. They have
15 minutes to wow other customers or simply soothe their own souls.

"I've been having a bad week," said Julianna Holowka, an iPod night regular.
"I'm feeling entirely self-indulgent, so I'm just playing what I want to

The New York club APT, in the West Village, lays claim to having held the
first iPod night almost three years ago when DJ Andrew Andrew kicked off
what it calls an iParty. (DJ Andrew Andrew is two men named Andrew who
decline to reveal their last names.) In Chicago, the Tonic Room is one of at
least four bars that hold the events. The 21st Amendment in San Francisco
has the Bay Area's best-known iPod night.

DJ Andrew Andrew places relatively tight controls on APT's iPod night, held
every Tuesday and attended by 50 to 75 people. Customers take a number, just
as they would at a delicatessen, and look to a Now Serving sign for their
moment. They then pick seven minutes' worth of music from two iPods provided
by DJ Andrew Andrew, each holding 1,000 songs. Only APT regulars who have
proven good taste can play songs from their own iPods.

"Once a month or so, someone will be taken aback that you have to use our
iPods," said one of the Andrews in a telephone interview. "But APT has a
really strong musical identity, and we want to make sure there is a certain
type of music playing."

A more relaxed atmosphere permeates the Get Me High Lounge in Chicago's
Bucktown neighborhood. Two regulars, Rob Tarpey and Edmund Gomez, arrive
every Wednesday night and play songs off their iPods until the bartender or
another customer asks to have a turn. The iPods are passed across the bar
and placed in a standard dock.

"This gives a couple of iPod dorks like us a chance to listen to the music
you jam to at home in a really comfortable setting," Mr. Gomez said. "I look
forward to this every week."

The bartender, Joshua Tilden, appreciates the night as well. "It's my
favorite night to work," he said. "I like hearing other peoples' taste in

The recording industry hasn't reacted negatively to the iPod nights, even
though the format sidesteps traditional methods of playing music at bars and

Mr. Nepo said that the license from the American Society of Composers,
Authors and Publishers that establishments use to cover the music played by
D.J.'s should also cover iPod owners acting as D.J.'s for a night.

Becoming a temporary D.J. can be as nerve-racking as it is gratifying.
Customers huddled in the Tonic Room's dark red confines agonized over which
songs to play. The music departed from typical jukebox fare, with one
customer showing off his collection of recorded Phish concerts and another
playing TV theme songs. One iPod user accidentally cut off Guns N' Roses'
"Sweet Child o' Mine" midsong to an outpouring of jeers, while another
participant had patrons gyrating to the Doors' "Peace Frog."

"It's a rush to have people dancing to your music," said Amanda MacDonald, a
law school student at Northwestern. "They should have this everywhere."

Most of the iPod fanatics interviewed seemed certain that iPod nights were a
trend that would catch on in a big way, enabling a customer to rise, for a
moment, to the status of star D.J., or use music as a way to strike up a
conversation or a flirtation.

One customer at the Tonic Room asked if the bar would ever charge for the
evening. "We don't want to have people pay to play their own music," Mr.
Nepo said. "That would be terrible."

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