Jazz Ahead 2014

I’ve just spent two days at Jazz Ahead which is a big trade fair in Bremen, Germany where basically everybody in the music business can meet anybody else in the music business: there are musicians, labels and record companies, agents and promoters, press people, radio stations, old friends and colleagues, some already well-known and some maybe not yet.

It was nice to talk to people from Advance Music, one of Europe’s best jazz publishing companies, about my orchestral work, meet an old friend Anne de Jong from Challenge Records in Holland, who had published my first two CD’s in the beginning 1990’s, get some sage advice from people like Ralph Gluch, Iiro Rantala’s agent from Switzerland, or Mathias Winkelmann from ENJA Records in Munich.

The music business is experiencing difficult times. The CD as a music medium seems to be coming to the end of its relatively short history, record shops are closing down, which means record companies don’t know where to sell their records anymore (outside of the net), and therefore the question arises: ‘Is it worthwhile making them anymore in the first place?’

On the other hand, how does the audience find new artists and how do the artists reach an audience that is yet unaware of them?
The promoters say: ‘You need a distribution first’.
The distributor says: ‘You need a strong label first’.
The label manager says: ‘Best to sell your CD’s at concerts. Organize a tour and sell the CD’s there’. For this you need an agent.
The agents say: ‘You need to build up a fan basis first, because the clubs can’t take the risk to feature unknown acts’.

Which brings you back to the audience which is yet unaware of you, the artist.

So, it’s up to you, dear friends and listeners who have found to this website in one or the other mysterious way: communicate your interests!
Tell the organizers of your favourite concert venue, which bands you would like to hear (maybe one of mine?), tell your friends what you’re listening to, invite them to check out or like facebook pages (SatnaMusic for example).
Believe it or not, but some agency people really said to me that 4000 likes on Facebook are a good start to do some promotional work.

It’s a slow process, but sooner or later good things happen.

Anyway, it was fun, if exhausting, to talk to all sorts of different people for two days, basically non-stop from 10am to 7pm and to listen to some of the showcase concerts.
I hope I’ll get to play there next year. I’ll certainly be aware of the deadline to apply for it, next time.

In the meantime there are some nice concerts coming up: my Contemporary Collective playing at the Koko Jazz Club in Helsinki on May 8th and the Sid Hille Brotherhood (previously Film Collective) on May 14th at the Juttutupa, Helsinki as well.

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