guest column hanging out with the Armchair Jammer, interviewed live before the opening “rubber” of his 3-month residency, part of the Push Ha’Penny tour at the new Redditch jazz cafe, the Custard Cream, formerly a Wetherspoons
“I wonder,” saith AJ, “when the trend for “trailers” or “teasers” started pushing jazz releases. It cannot have been that long ago. I started to see them in quantity about 10 years ago. Nowadays they have reached the last days of Empire stage and roll in at 1 minute and 2 seconds exactly. It could get bloody.
“Who are these trailers aimed at? Weirdly it is now the global public rather than closed list promo-only industry folk given that they are online.
“I am all for innovation but some things go stale. We may well have reached peak-teaser.
“My attitude now is a shrug, ah another record company promoting itself. Sometimes I get sucked in, mostly I don’t. “Official” trailers show how seriously sales people take these things.
“I mind less if it is an artist who is trying to run their own cottage industry label. My rationale in that case is that they are sincere which is good (unlike a lot of insincere people in the record industry) and just want to earn a living like everyone else (and not buy a yacht, or ever so ’umble cabin cruiser, capt’n). They are putting their necks on the line without the need for a whole cadre of “pro label” often highly paid marketing executives stuck in the middle advising them after lengthy research and the occasional breakfast summit to play in hotel lobbies because someone might walk in.
“These teasers can only get so far. What can you tell from a minute of audio? The video is never that interesting in the same way as a trailer in the cinema is not that interesting although it does tell you which films to avoid. New thinking needed — it is 2018 after all. The jazz fan is out there and is more sophisticated than most. Labels do not want to give too much away for free. Follow the logic, how do you find out more about the album from an independent source? Read a review. What goes around, comes around. The only worry though is that the true music journo may need to be nurtured back to the position that they can lift their pen and risk a beverage like a panda in some lucky zoo as an endangered species and plied with a lot of bamboo. There are only about two press card-in-the-hat types left, apparently, outside captivity anyway although experts disagree on the exact numbers and there may be a few more.
“The best way to promote the record? Yes — a short gig or better still a bunch of them before the record comes out and then even more after it comes out. That is not as crazy as it sounds. Face it: your fan base will not be truly global. You may well be big in Droitwich, however, all to the good, the fact that Google Analytics informs you that you have 17 listeners in Ulan Bator is fairly meaningless given that you will receive 0.02 Tughriks per stream. Your tasteful piano-less quartet reimagining the music of Gerry Mulligan will never sell more records than Dua Lipa. Fact. Even thinking that way is so wrong.”