Streaming is the End of the Line for CD’s?

Posted: March 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

I think its worth reading this article by David Byrne before I say anything as its pretty comprehensive on the current situation with Streaming

His article is called “The Internet will suck all creative content out of the world”

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/oct/11/david-byrne-internet-content-world

I’m not sure thats strictly true and I doubt we will see the end of creativity because of the Internet in fact the reverse could be true and many artists are creating more than ever before.

But my point is the future of the record ,album or CD,the hard Copy of an artists rendition may well be over.

With the advent of Spotify,Pandora,Youtube,Deezer and Google Play based mainly on a monthly fee one can listen to any music one wants to whenever one wants.

Maybe with Classical and Jazz it is less likely to use streaming to listen but I listen a great deal on Pandora and I cannot remember the last time I bought a CD and when I did I bought it from through Amazon.com.

So there goes Record store as such but we all know thats happened already but what about the CD sales from on line retailers or otherwise.

I basically think the CD is a thing of the past and its over as a format.

Sure there will always be the “odd” buyer as there are for actual vinyl albums still.

I heard that Vinyl sales are actually increasing especially in Japan.

But for a Record Label to sign an act and give them a budget to record and mix those days may be done.

Of course there are always those top 20 or 30 artists that sell  a lot of Hard Copies and Downloads and are also popular with streaming services.

But its interesting that Beyonce released her latest CD available on iTunes only!

But why buy music in physical form when you can hear it whenever you want for $8.98 per month.

I wonder what will happen to “itunes” although they have their own streaming equivalent with the radio.

The solution will be,as it already is with most Jazz Artists, is to make your own CD at your costs and get the word out anyway you can.

Ron

What can I do about my career?

Posted: January 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

Over the years I get asked by many artists”What can I do about my career?

How do I get an agent?

How do I get a manager?

How do I get a record deal?

And so on and so on.

These are difficult questions to answer and I find myself fumbling with an answer most times.

But I had some recent success with an artist that I would like to tell you about.

I’m not saying this the complete answer but there is some truth here that could be useful to any artist of any sort,musician,poet,painter,writer or even trombone players.

We were sitting at the beach in a fish restaurant and this particular musician used to buy lunch  in exchange for an extended conversation about the Music Business and his music life in general.

I wasn’t managing him but I liked him and he was a very good player and above all he really wanted “it” and was going for “it”career wise.

He asked all these questions and honestly I had no magic answer and suddenly realised that all these things were in fact OUT OF HIS CONTROL!

They were actually the responsibility of a manager and if I were managing him it would be “my job” to bring the answers to these questions into being.

I had the best shot of finding the agent,record label for him and these were my areas of control and expertise were I take him on as a client.

HE PROBABLY COULD DO VERY LITTLE TO ACCOMPLISH ANY OF THESE OBJECTIVES AND THATS WHY HE WAS TALKING TO ME AND ASKING ME ALL THESE QUESTIONS.

It then dawned on me that there was something he could do about all these things in his own way.

I realised that it was the ONLY thing he could really control and be cause over as the artist and that was HIS ART!

So I told him “You know all you can do is practice and work on all aspects of your playing,composing and performance and thats what you should concentrate on”.

Thats all you can do and for him at that moment it made sense and he later told me it was best advice he had ever had and it changed things for him dramatically.

It changed things for him because thats what he did,he went away and did just that.

He worked on the things that he could control and was cause over which was his playing,writing and performance.

Guess what, he now has a record deal and gigs in the UK and has played Ronnie Scotts in London already and is currently working on a great idea for his next CD,

So I thought this was a piece of advice that could help others.

It is doubtful that you as the artist,musician,poet or painter can easily get an agent,record label,publisher,exhibition or maybe any help at all but you can develop your art. In fact no one else can do anything about your art as I doubt the manager,agent,publisher,record label or promoter can make you play better,or write better songs or perform better  or write a better novel.

I know those guys can’t and only you can do anything about these things  and what a great freedom that is really as it means you are responsible for your own career success and it is totally in your control and ability to make it happen and you can do it.

Ask any artist who is successful.

Who couldn’t get,Pavarotti,Beyonce,Herbie Hancock an agent manager,record deal or agent?

Buy why ….because their art is developed and most times brilliant and this goes on down the gradients to the lowly Trombone player in the trombone section of that band at the wedding reception you just attended If he was a better trombone player,musician ,performer he would be playing in the Golden Globe Awards Band this Sunday on CBS.

It was the artist and never the manager,agent,promoter,publisher or record label that are the reason for the artists success believe me,it is always the artist.

Sure you need that help and the artist needs good ,sane,ethical supportive advice and counsel to succeed but how do you get it?

Practice Practice and more Practice for you as as the artist are totally in control of your art and no one else and that is something you can do something about and are responsible for.

I might go as far as to say to forget about all the business bull s..t and just concentrate on your art, whatever your passion.

Cheap advice and I hope not too simple and I hope it helps a little.

Ron

I have interesting answer to this question with this week being the anniversary of JFK’s assassination and all the media attention to the 50th Anniversary of the event.

On November 22nd 1963 I was 19 years old and had been playing trombone for 3 years since I was 16.

I went to see my idol big band the Stan Kenton Orchestra in my home town Birmingham UK.

The band was superb and his version of West Side Story was an anthem to us young musicians.

The band had the 4 Mellophoniums plus 4 trombones and 5 trumpets and a full sax section.

http://www.middlehornleader.com/Kenton%20Mellophoniums.htm

They had played about 3 or 4 songs when the concert suddenly stopped and Kenton walked off  to stage left.

He came back and walked to the microphone and announced that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas,Texas.

The band were visibly shaken and so were the audience.

Stan Kenton then announced the band would play “God Bless America” as a tribute.

Which they did and it was the most amazing arrangement of the song I have ever heard with the soaring Mellophoniums and trombones.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Personel was as follows as far as I can determine:

Stan Kenton (piano); Joel Kaye (piccolo, bass saxophone); Gabe Baltazar (alto saxophone); Ray Florian, Steve Marcus (tenor saxophone); Archie Wheeler (baritone saxophone); Bob Behrendt, Ronnie Ossa, Gary Slavo, Ron Keller (trumpet); Jiggs Whigham (trombone, tenor trombone); Bob Curnow (tenor trombone); Dave Wheeler (bass trombone, tuba); Jim Amlotte (bass trombone); Chris Swanson (valve trombone); John Worster (double bass); Dee Barton (drums) plus the Mellophoniums Bob Faust,Tony Scodwell,David Horten and Bob Crull as far as I can determine.

The concert was amazing and very memorable and its strange it seems like yesterday

 

 

 

 

Interesting article on Album sales.

Some opinions not necessarily mine but the figures are informative.

Ron

Is the album dead? Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Elton John hit by dramatic US sales slump

As artists speak out over rise in streaming, industry tries to adapt to new habits of digital consumer

Katy Perry's Prism sold more copies than the next eight acts combined on the US album chart.

Katy Perry’s Prism sold more copies on the US album chart than the next eight acts combined. Photograph: Tom Dymond/REX

Lou Reed’s album sales may have risen 607% in the US last week, one of many tributes to New York’s rock ‘n’ roll poet of the streets, but that did little to dispel the black mood that has descended on the music business.

The US music industry, the world’s largest market, has experienced a drop in album sales from 800m in 2002 to 316m a decade later. But industry analysts say that long-term trend doesn’t account for a sudden drop-off. It seems that the 10-song, artist-statement format that originated with the advent of the 33⅓ long player in the late 1940s could itself be nearing the end of the line.

Last week US album sales, as measured since 1991 by Nielsen Soundscan, fell to a new low of 4.49m at the time of year when the industry typically rolls out its big acts before the holiday sales boom. Katy Perry’s No 1 album Prism sold less than 300,000 copies, but that was still more than the next eight titles combined – among them Pearl Jamand Drake.

Despite energetic twerking and taunting Sinéad O’Connor on Twitter, Miley Cyrus’s Bangerz – No 1 two weeks ago – fell to fourth place with 43,000.

Even acts with loyal, older and often technologically challenged audiences are finding sales hard to come by. Elton John and Paul McCartney’s releases failed to find any commercial footing, with Sir Elton’s The Diving Board selling just 11,116 in its third week of release.

“The album is dying in front of our very eyes,” industry commentator Bob Lefsetz wrote. “Everybody’s interested in the single, and no one’s got time to sit and hear your hour-plus statement.”

Analysts blame Spotify, YouTube and other cheap or free streaming services for broad declines that include a 4% drop in digital downloads – the first since Apple’s iTunes was launched a decade ago. Despiteopposition to Spotify from songwriters, who say streaming services pay so poorly they threaten what remains of a meagre living, streaming now contributes 16% of the industry’s revenues.

Album sales, analysts say, are further threatened by fragmenting of genres, the poor quality of music and shopping chains carrying a limited selection of discounted releases to bring in customers.

To understand the shift to a market dominated by singles and streaming, the industry has introduced a new measure, TEA (track equivalent albums) which counts 10 track sales as one album. If the TEA measure is used, Bangerz, which only sold 245,000 traditional copies in its first week, rises to 750,000 sales.

If consumers are tiring of buying single-track downloads – 1.1bn a year are sold at present – and turning to streaming services, up 59% on last year, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), is that good or bad for the album?

Ed Christman, of the industry publication Billboard, said there was no definitive data to show streaming was cannibalising traditional sales, but added that in terms of revenue it took 2,000 streams to equal one album.

He said: “Is the album going away? People have been speculating about that forever. There are those that think the album should go away and plenty of artists who still believe in the album.” If albums are still selling 300m copies, it’s unlikely to be abandoned. “It’s up to the artists to decide what happens to it.”

One school of thought holds that the decline of the album is related to the introduction of the CD. Musicians were able to put out 80 minutes of music – far more than the LP, limited to 21 minutes a side – making for often self-indulgent releases. Others argue that music released in physical form should be abandoned. But as other media have discovered, physical formats still command a premium in both value and prestige.

“Consumers are fickle beasts – they want choices,” said Christman.

Artists may be sceptical – former Talking Heads frontman David Byrnehas pulled as much of his back catalogue out of Spotify as possible, while Radiohead’s Thom Yorke calls it “the last desperate fart of a dying corpse”. But the record industry is getting behind streaming.

“A variety of access models are collectively generating a healthy amount of revenue for labels and artists,” says Jonathan Lamy, an RIAA spokesman. “When you add up revenues from all of these models, they represent real revenues now and prospects for a bright future.”

But it’s still to be seen whether streaming can ever be as a profitable as albums. “You just don’t know,” said Christman. “It’s like asking how big the universe is. Right now it’s a small universe.”

For Bob Lefsetz, the message to artists is straightforward – hype doesn’t work, you have to connect to your audience even if that means only putting out one good track.

“You put out these albums and in almost every case, the public moves on in a matter of weeks! A few bought it, they heard it, and they’re satisfied. The rest of the public is just waiting for a hit single … they’ll tap their toes and snap their fingers and ask, ‘What else have you got?

This year I’ve had the pleasure and hard work to travel to China,South Korea,England,Paris and Japan.

As a general comment it is getting more difficult and it’s as if airlines no longer care especially the US based airlines.

Travel on Japanese,Korean or China airlines is a totally different experience as they seem to want one’s custom.

I have to include British Air and Air France who are very caring.

I write this not just to be critical ,which it is,but because it doesn’t make sense.

And its not just myself who experience these travel nightmares.

I recently had a client of mine who went to London to play at the Ronnie Scott Jazz Club in London.

He left and got delayed by the airline and missed his connection in Atlanta to get his flight to Heathrow.

He waited 3 hours in one queue (Line) and never got to the front of the counter and jumped the line into Priority travel line for another 1 1/2 hours.

When he got to the front of the line all the flights to Heathrow that day were full and the airline had him on flight through Manchester which is some 200 miles from London.

I was in Tokyo Japan and through the wonders of modern communication we were able to get in touch and he ended up going to Manchester and catching a train to London then a cab and he got to his own rehearsal half an hour late.

He had to buy cloths as his luggage was long gone and it arrived late in the night after the performance the following day.

The gig went well and was well attended and he played on a borrowed instrument and he more than pulled it off.

The Airline are going to reimburse him for the cloths which is excellent.

But his main complaint was, it was as if the airline didn’t really care and having to wait in line all those hours to get an alternate flights was horrendous.

My experience on 2 different US carriers to Tokyo and back was equally horrendous with bad food,small seats and poor service.

The 2 flights on 2 different Japanese carriers were a pleasure and just so easy.

I guess we have no alternative but to use these airlines and if you are rich and can travel in Business class or above then I’m sure it is not the same experience.

I for one will insist on a foreign airline in future for all international travel but isn’t that a sad reflection on the state of US Air travel.

The Shanghai Visit

Posted: November 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

I had recent exciting visit to Shanghai China, my first time in Shanghai but not to China.

Back in 1989.I think it was, I went to Beijing with Chick Corea and Gayle Moran and we also travelled to Wuhan in Central China for a concert.

Things were just beginning to open up at that point and we even stayed at the Holiday Inn at Beijing Airport that had just been completed and opened.

So going back 20 years later was an interesting experience as things have really developed in many ways and in some nothing has changed

This time I went with Kyle Eastwood and we travelled from Miami after playing the Miami Nice Jazz Festival opening to Dee Dee Bridgewater which is another story for some other time.

The journey is long and from Miami even longer so we got there pretty fried and without our drummer Joe Strasser because of Visa problems. In fact the Sax Player and Trumpet player , Graeme Blevins and Quentin Collins,also didn’t make it out of London because of visa screw ups so it was just Kyle and Andrew McCormack (Piano) and myself that arrived in Shanghai.

We had located a recommended Australian jazz drummer, Nicholas McBride , and the plan was to rehearse with him on the morning of the show. Plus there were two other guest stars that had stayed in Shanghai to perform with Kyle and the band namely Roby Lacatos ( Violin) and Xu Ke (ERHU) who were both extraordinary musicians with amazing ability.

So we stayed at the Shanghai Hilton, a very nice Hotel, and next morning went to the Shanghai Concert Hall, which incidentally had been MOVED 66.4 meters to make way for a freeway in 2007.(Click on Shanghai Concert Hall Link))

We rehearsed for about 4 hours with the Trio with Nicholas McBride and with Roby and Xu Ke and put together what turned out to be an excellent show.

The show went off great and was well attended and followed by the best Chinese meal I ever had and a visit to a night club with Karaoke and yes I sang…..It was bad!

But then the fun really began as next day when I woke up I discovered all the flights to New York had been cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy.

So I spent 7 more days in Shanghai until I could fly out on November 5th back through New York to Tampa courtesy of the Chinese promoter who very kindly paid my hotel and food for the full 7 days and he didn’t have to.

It was like the movie Groundhog day with a bout of Food poisoning added BUT I did get to see The Jade Temple,Shanghai Museum and the old City which was very enlightening.

However the lack of freedom is noticeable and the discrepancy between the rich and mostly poor is VERY VERY noticeable.

However it was very enjoyable and despite enormous Visa Problems,a Hurricane and a serious bout of Food Poisoning it was something of an adventure.

Ron

.

Playing Trombone again

Posted: November 27, 2012 in General Music, Jazz Music, Music

I had bought a King 2B Trombone earlier this year from Sam Ash in Tampa and it was a great find as it a 1976 horn made in Cleveland.

In September I noticed on Facebook David Manson asking about a Trombone player was needed for the St.Petersburg College Big Band.

I called him and went down on a Monday at 1 pm and got the gig.

I’ve been going every Monday and Friday now for some time and what a joy it is to be playing again.

I even get to play the 1st Trombone chair and my lip and range is improving.

We have 2 Christmas concerts in December on the 7th at a retiree home  and 13th at the AD Section of the St Petersburg College at 1:30pm.

Its so great to play music as thats what is really all about and what got me into this business in the first place.

Thanks Dave for the oppurtunity.

Ron

The Blue Note,Tokyo,Japan visit in December

Posted: November 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

It is with great pleasure that the Kyle Eastwood Band is appearing at the Blue Note Tokyo on Dec 10,11th and 12th 2011.

And its even more pleasure for me to be going with them.

Its our first visit to Japan since the Tsunami and Earthquake struck earlier this year so it will be interesting to see if there are any differences or changes.

I doubt there will be any change in how we are treated which is always so excellent and so very caring but that is the way of the Japanese people.

I know for myself its the most pleasurable place to tour and I think that is the way most musicians feel about performing in Japan.

The Management and Staff at the Blue Note Tokyo are exemplary in their treatment of the artists that get to perform there and it’s a sort of the hidden secret as to why that club is so successful.

They care and seem to really enjoy the music…for real.

Its a joy to go there!

Touring and off to London to see the Queen!

Posted: April 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

I was in Japan recently with the Kyle Eastwood band at the Blue Note Jazz Club Tokyo (The best Jazz Club in the world by far) some weeks before the Tsunami and earthquake hit.

I was going to blog about my experiences in Japan and what it is like to tour there but with all thats happened it seems inappropriate.

But I will say,besides wishing them well and a speedy recovery from the disaster that touring in Japan is a very satisfying experience.

The courtesy and care they take to look after all aspects of touring is the best in the world.

One does one sound check and set up and from then on every show is exactly the same ,its quite amazing.

Their manners are perfect and that enables them to live and survive in very crowded environment.They make it work!

Today I’m off to the UK to see family and also go to Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club where Kyle and the band are playing 4 nights this week.

Then the band are touring the UK and I meet up with them again in Paris on May 12th for a special promotion show around the new CD being released today April 18th entitled “Songs from the Chateaux” on Candid Records.

For me its one the bands best CD’s to date and their 4th for Candid so far.

I will check in from time to time and give you any news and I hope I get my wedding invite for Prince Williams wedding on April 29th.

A special part of this trip for me is to see my daughter Elisabeth Moss next week at the Comedy Theater in the West End of London where she appearing with Keira Knightley in a play called “The Childrens Hour”.

http://www.thecomedytheatre.co.uk/

Then to Germany to see my grandson who is playing soccer over there and I get to see my 88 year old mother and brothers Tony and Steve.

Should be a good trip.

Ron

King 2B Trombone 1963

About a year ago I went on E Bay, took a chance and bid on a Student Model trombone for $45 and won.

It arrived and of course it was not too good an instrument but playable.

It had been 15 years since I had played any sort of gig and the two incredible Trombones and a 4 Valve Euphonium I had in those days had long gone to pay the rent in more difficult times.

They were a King 3B that I had purchased new in the UK in the late 60’s , a Bach Stradivarius that was picked out by Bill Watrous from Peppys in New York when Bill was recording the “Leprecaun” with Chick Corea in the 70’s and I later got a deal on a Yamaha 4 Valve Euphonium for use with the 13 piece band tour in 78/79 on an arrangement of “Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant “ from The Return to Forever play-book.

What an arrangement that was by Chick and we played it all over the world when I had the honor of being 2nd Trombone to Jim Pugh,a REAL trombone player!

That was an amazing band that only really recorded on one  album called Secret Agent that also featured Al Jarreau (I’m not sure if it is out on CD as I have never been able to find it).

I even got a 12 bar solo on that album and it was atrocious solo but you have to live with those things…..

So I started practicing with my King Student model and a slide that would stick most of the time but that helps develop the lip I guess?

Then in November 2010 I got an offer of a gig with a small dance band here in Clearwater that I accepted and played my first gig in 15 years and had a great time.

There is something about going back to the basics of what started you in the business in the first place and that was for me the love of playing music itself.

So many top Music Industry people I know are actually musicians and for me I had forgotten how hard it is to be a musician and play well and the hours that go into practice and developing ones craft.

Then a couple more gigs came along and the limitations of my instrument began to show so I decided to treat myself at Christmas and buy a new instrument.

I went back to E bay and there were 100’s of trombones for sale including my favorite King 3B but they were expensive plus one never knows their condition really and how good the slides actually are until it arrives at your doorstep.

So I decided to go to Sam Ash on US 19 and try some new horns which I did and the young brass salesman who seemed very disinterested in selling me one mentioned that Sam Ash in Tampa near the Bucs ground had more horns so I gave them a call and one Saturday drove across the Causeway up Dale Mowbry Way to the Sam Ash store.

They had more horns for sure but still mostly the student models or overpriced F Change and Classical type horns that are no real use to a Jazz type player.

Then at the end high on the wall there was this Silver Trombone with a price tag that said “Silversonic” the magic word as it had to be a King!

With great anticipation the very helpful salesman, Michael, got down the horn and sure enough it was a King 2B in perfect condition with a Silver bell and a slide that actually worked  .

Perfect instrument with a smaller bore than the King 3 B which was ideal for someone who doesn’t play so much anymore and who needs to redevelop his embrasure like yours truly plus there was 10% off.

How could I refuse so I didn’t and walked out the store  with my King 2b in an original King case in perfect condition (See picture above).

I tracked down the serial number on line and it was made sometime in 1963 in the best years 1960 to 1965 for these instruments and made in the original H.N.White factory in Cleveland.

Now if you listen carefully while driving through Florida you will hear Clearwater’s Andy Martin struggling to play along with the Gorden Goodwin Big Band Trombone play along CD.

Not pretty for sure but I’m having a great time playing again and as a Personal Manger friend of mine said to me “Oh no! is that what happens to managers when they get old ,they end up as trombone players?”

There’s a joke there somewhere which reminds me.”Whats the difference between a dead Squirrel and a dead trombone player lying in the road?

Ans: “The Squirrel was on the way to a gig”