[Dixielandjazz] What Turns The Younger Audiences On?
jazzboard at hotmail.com
Fri Nov 3 17:57:56 PST 2006
Hi boys and girls,
Mindful of the problems getting OKOM out to the younger folks I did a little
thinking (always a bad thing) and wrote the following story for publication
in the American Rag. I'm not sure if it will make it into the next edition
but I anticipate it will be published soon.
Here is the text of the story (you're getting it before subscribers to the
Rag get it):
----> begin story
It Aint Round No More - Its Rectangular!
CDs Are Dead
Humorist Dave Barry, in his book, Money Secrets, writes about how us older
type people may seem a bit confused over the revolution in information in
the digital age.
"We [older folks] are having a lot of trouble with technology these days,
particularly if the technlology is digital. Oh, we know that digital is
good. Everybody tells us this. We know that sooner or later every electrical
thing we own, including our toaster, will be digital. We just dont get how
Music is a form of information and since the digital computers, which
evolve in complexity on a daily basis, have grown into increasingly huge and
complex systems of storing and distributing information it is therefore no
surprise to find out that music has been swept up into this burgeoning
enterprise and has also become DIGITAL!
Round Music is that music were all familiar with. Our grandparents
listened to the first recordings on round cylinders which evolved into round
disks which rotated at 78 RPM which evolved into round disks which rotated
at 33 1/3 RPM which evolved into smaller disks with a bigger hole in the
middle which revolved at 45 RPM which evolved into round reels of tape which
unwound at 7 IPS (inches per second) which evolved into audio cassettes with
miniature round reels inside. This music was not DIGITAL it was ANALOG
(big difference here but I wont go into a technical explanation)!
Then along came the CD which was round and which, like the phonograph
record, you stuck into or onto some sort of device which transferred the
information on the disc into sound waves in the air which would slap up
against our ear drums and cause us to experience the thrill of hearing
music. But, the CD is a bit odd in the sense that although it is round and
has a hole in the middle (like a phonograph record), the information
contained on it is no longer analog. It has become digital which
basically means that everything on that CD disc is in numeric form
(basically 1's and 0's).
Where is all of this leading? Whats the big deal? The big deal is that
your grandchildren know nothing about LPs, 78s, 45s, and audio cassettes
(and, increasingly, even CDs)! They listen to their music on Ipods! All of
those who know what Ipods are raise your hands . . . ahah! I thought so.
An Ipod is a music player but its not round its rectangular and its
about half the size of a standard CD Jewel Case. But where the Jewel Case
only holds one CD which has maybe 15 tunes on it, the Ipod doesnt hold any
disks or gizmos at all but it does hold up to twenty thousand songs (!) in
the form of something known as an MP3" file, all easily accessible and
playable through headphones or (with an extra bit of hardware) on your
THATS WHERE MUSIC IS TODAY!! Thats where the youngsters are going to get
their musical appetites satisfied. To the younger generation CDs are DEAD!
Our grandchildren dont listen to them! Ill repeat that . . . THE
YOUNGSTERS DONT LISTEN TO CDS!
We spend much time talking about getting youth involved in our music. We
have jazz club scholarships and jazz camps. Trad jazz festivals often will
book a local high school jazz band to play (and its often bebop as
opposed to our kind of music). But Im sorry to report that this is not
actually reaching out to youth.
Go to your computer, log on to the internet and do a Google search for
downloadable MP3 music. Youll find lots of companies that offer literally
MILLIONS of songs for you to download for just pennies per song. Do you
recognize any of these popular recording artists (all featured on most of
these web sites): Dem Hoodstarz, Thug Karma, Ludacris, D J Signify, Seven
Chakraz? Thats what I thought. But your grandchildren know them well.
On the other hand, ask your grandchildren if they recognize these names:
Turk Murphy, Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Blue Street, Titan Hot 7 and see
how many hands go up. May I predict None.
Friends, were not reaching out to our young people. Our current flock of
jazz bands are making CDs while the youngsters are listening to MP3s on
their Ipods. Does anyone see any sort of disconnect here? Are any of our
favorite jazz bands recording CDs making sure that the songs are also
available in the MP3 format? Those folks recording our favorite jazz bands
such as Bay Records, Puddingstone and others create MP3 files for the songs
they put on CDs but youll search forever before youll find them on a music
website where one can download songs.
People who love OKOM (Our Kind Of Music) must find a more effective way to
get MP3 files into the hands of youngsters and their Ipods or in a very
short time OKOM will not be just dead - it will be dead and gone! (Clue
look to the current crop of young swing dancers to help act as a force to
get this MP3 technology to give them some danceable music.)
----> end of story
In a cover letter to Don Jones (publisher of the American Rag) which
accompanied the story I wrote:
-----> start letter
The story is about the music that young people listen to today and
the source of that music. It points out that those of us who love and play
OKOM (Our Kind Of Music) are NOT getting our music to youth. We are using
the wrong media.
Until contemporary trad jazz bands begin placing their music on internet
sites which download MP3 files into youngsters Ipods and actively marketing
same our music will die. Not slowly, but in an increasing spiral as the
older forms of music (CDs, etc) fade into obscurity.
CDs are (for all practical marketing purposes in the music industry) DEAD!
Perhaps you have read something about the demise of Tower Records (an
international company) in the last month or two. The reason it died is
because they never made the crossover into downloadable digital music. They
could have been a GIANT in contemporary music business but they thought that
CDs were becoming more and more popular - sadly, the opposite was true and
now Tower is history.
Bill "I calls 'em the way I sees 'em" Gunter
jazzboard at hotmail.com
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