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Mark Stryker

Kamasi Washington: NYT Magazine profile

161 posts in this topic

I find the Kansas City remark in Jim's post a pretty sad attempt at dark humor. Especially considering K.C. is home to both the Jazz Hall Of Fame, and the Negro League Baseball Hall Of Fame. 

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"this is odd. We can't order it. It is in a special category, considered so unsellable by Corporate that we are not allowed to get it shipped to our store. Very few CDs or DVDs get that designation. Usually we can order in just about anything."

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You underlined everything except the true reason why it probably can't be ordered: saleability.

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So it sits in the warehouse waiting for somebody to order it, as long as that customer is not ordering it through that store, where they are "not allowed" to get it?

Huh?

It's not that it's not carried in-store real time that surprises me, it's the corporate dictate that they cannot have it at all, ever, not even if.

Try something, Hot Ptah - go back to that store, ask again to order it, show them that it's on BNDOTCOM tell them that you'd like to pick it up there at the store, what can they do for you, etc. If they still tell you that they're not allowed to have it in their store, even if a customer specifically requests it, ask them WTF?

And then, for grins, ask yourself who ain't gonna be looking for any Kamasi Washington records or anything else at THIS place again, and then ask yourself why the B&N business model is probably quite alright with that.

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26 minutes ago, Brad said:

You underlined everything except the true reason why it probably can't be ordered: saleability.

Well, it's rather obvious to Jim that it's all about racism in a backwards cow town. 

*sigh*

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Barnes & Noble is headquartered in NYC.

Let me take a sec and call my comatose Plano B&N and see what they have on hand, or to roder.

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32 minutes ago, JSngry said:

So it sits in the warehouse waiting for somebody to order it, as long as that customer is not ordering it through that store, where they are "not allowed" to get it?

Huh?

It's not that it's not carried in-store real time that surprises me, it's the corporate dictate that they cannot have it at all, ever, not even if.

Try something, Hot Ptah - go back to that store, ask again to order it, show them that it's on BNDOTCOM tell them that you'd like to pick it up there at the store, what can they do for you, etc. If they still tell you that they're not allowed to have it in their store, even if a customer specifically requests it, ask them WTF?

And then, for grins, ask yourself who ain't gonna be looking for any Kamasi Washington records or anything else at THIS place again, and then ask yourself why the B&N business model is probably quite alright with that.

You're probably making more of this than needs to be made.

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"probably"? Why not be sure?

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A little on the rude side?  I was trying to be a little polite but you are making too much of this.  Also, so what if B & N is headquartered in NY? Sounds like Ted Cruz' "NY values."

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Plano says they can order for me, but only to be shipped to my home. What if I wanted to pick it up at the store and buy some books while I'm there? Can't do it.

exact quote - "Is it a problem for you to have things delivered at home, sir?"

Well, I guess I should have asked is it a problem for you for nobody to come into your store anymore, how do you see that trending over the next 5-10 years, and your job security along with it?

But then - what if I wanted to order a copy of a Beatles CD that you didn't have in stock, could I get that sent to pick it up in the store.

Sure!

About paying in advance - Kamasi - you would have to pay in advance and it would have to come to your home. Beatles  -you could pay in advance if you want to, but you could also wait until it comes in to the store here.

Are most things like Kamasi or like the Beatles? Well, we can't really tell, there's no real reason for any of it that I can see, and I've worked here five years. But we can get you most things in here w/o you needing to prepay. (a contradictory answer, but I let it ride).

My take-away from this is that Barnes & Noble is not all that concerned with what music is in their brick-and-mortars as long as its targeted to a known-quatity customer, you can buy stuff there if you want to, and if not, they don't care even a little. This is not a place to buy music that's still blooming, if you will.

Their policy for special orders seems to be wholly arbitrary on the surface, but sure seems to me to be retro-driven, i.e. - if they know it's been popular before, it will probably get an ok. If they don't know about it at all or aren't "sure" about it, keep that strictly on line. Even if the customer would prefer to pay in advance, pick it up in-store and shop for additional items once there.

I can do this with underwear at JC Penney, but I can't do it with CDs at Barnes & Noble.

So as far as B&N being any kind of indicator about music except the most trailingest kind, and then of their more or less known demographic sets, forget about it. They're locked in for the duration, how ever much longer they will be, selling what they sell to the people they know they will sell it to. They're static in that sense, very static. And I guess they can keep on doing that for a while. But it's not where I'd go to look for anything outside of what's already there. Doesn't seem like that's what they're into doing.

As all of this pertains to Kamasi Washington, there is definitely something happening amongst certain peoples, but it's not happening in Barnes & Noble Brick & Mortar Land, neither this thing nor those people. Probably true of any number of other things as well...

 

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Since brick and mortar stores don't do much in CD sales anymore, my guess would be that they have either cut back on regional warehouses, or severely limit what they keep in them (downsized). 

That makes far more sense than any sidling and whispering about nefarious racial reasons. 

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Nothing nefarious about it. You target your product at who you want to buy it, and if you know who already has bought it, you know who you want to continue buying it.  If your strategy is to stand pat rather than broaden, then that's what you do. It works, at least until it doesn't, and it can work for a long, long time.

Hot Ptah is making the point that there is no concerted media blitz behind The Epic, and it appears to be true if we use Barnes & Noble as our model. Barnes & Noble just don't give a shit, not even half a shit, about selling Kamasi Washington (or "Kamasi Washington") right now. And Kamasi (and "Kamasi") seems to be doing just fine without them, so, win-win.

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The CD market is dwindling at an alarming rate. Many new cars don't even come with CD players anymore. I don't know why B&N would bother with heavy marketing for any music. 

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They stock ultra-obscure ECM issues but not The Epic?!? 

No way some of those odd ECM CDs sell one tenth whatever The Epic is selling

Paul Motion 5 CD ECM box was in stock when I bought it a couple of years back - was automatically replenished. 

Maybe the same box is still there!

Edited by Steve Reynolds

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I think it all shows that "The Epic" has had little national impact. So any thoughts that Kamasi Washington is being unjustly rewarded for subpar work omit the fact that the rewards may be largely nonexistent.

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1 hour ago, Steve Reynolds said:

They stock ultra-obscure ECM issues but not The Epic?!? 

No way some of those odd ECM CDs sell one tenth whatever The Epic is selling

Paul Motion 5 CD ECM box was in stock when I bought it a couple of years back - was automatically replenished. 

Maybe the same box is still there!

Their main shopping centers are right up around your area, aren't they? Jazz is still a somewhat relevant scene in that small corner of the country, isn't it? Supply and demand. 

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If you let Barnes & Noble define (or be a part of your definitional equation for defining) your "nation", then right, little national impact.

Now, are there nations within the nation? Or is that all an illusion?

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I think that Barnes and Noble has more national impact than less than 25 people discussing "The Epic" on online jazz discussion boards.

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Then again, if those 25 people never visit Barnes & Noble, online or otherwise, or otherwise consider "Barnes & Noble" as little more than/nothing other than some name of some place that does....something in some buildings....someplace, Barnes & Noble is not really relevant to their conversation, correct?

This is how points get missed all the time, not just here, everywhere - by people assuming that all people that occupy the same territory live in the same world. It's just not true.

 

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There are 3 B&N near me - one doesn't even have a music section.

the one in Paramus, NJ has a fairly large jazz section with the big blue note titles and a relatively deep selection of titles you would expect from Miles, Coltrane and Monk. Some recent issues like the last Steve Lehman disc and I think Dave Douglas or even Rudy Roylston. Nothing like criss cross, steeplechase, enja, AUM, clean feed, hat ART, okkadisk, etc. 

many new ECM discs, new blue notes, all kinds of Jarrett trio CDs on ECM, a few impulse twofers, Rashaan CDs, etc. 

the Clifton, NJ store not quite as much, the Livingston, NJ store near my work has hardly anything.

my favorite thing about the Paramus store is that I've snagged Dick's Picks 1, 4, 7, 12, 28 and 31 over the past year or two. Not cheap but they are rarely cheap anywhere.

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24 minutes ago, Steve Reynolds said:

 

the one in Paramus, NJ has a fairly large jazz section with the big blue note titles and a relatively deep selection of titles you would expect from Miles, Coltrane and Monk. Some recent issues like the last Steve Lehman disc and I think Dave Douglas or even Rudy Roylston. Nothing like criss cross, steeplechase, enja, AUM, clean feed, hat ART, okkadisk, etc. 

 

This sums up the one we have here in Sleepy Hollow, just a couple of hours from Kansas City. And the department is usually empty. My next door neighbor is a manager there and told me a year or so back that they rarely ever staff the register there anymore. 

CDs are a dinosaur. 

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About the only good thing that's come out of this conversation is that I've found out that the Paramus store has a nice jazz selection.  Although about 45 minutes from here, it probably beats anything around here.

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Well, this is a hoot - I just called the Los Angeles Barnes & Noble and got the exact same story about The Epic - they'll be happy to order it for you for home delivery, but there is no way in hell that they can order it for you to pick up in the store. Impossible. They'll get it for you and to you, just stay home while they do.

Call them yourselves!

Barnes & Noble

189 The Grove Drive Suite K 30, Los Angeles, CA 90036

(323) 525-0270

Open 9:00 AM - 11:00 PM

Right in the man's back yard and they ain't botherin'. If there's a market there, they don't appear to want in on it. And if there's not a market there, where are these people coming from?

Barnes & Noble so not relevant to any Kamasi Washington conversation going on to this point, unless it's the one about the man going to the forest and wondering where all the fish are.

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B&N still has "stores"?

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The distributor is everything. I believe Warner Brothers is the distributor for ECM, and obviously they do a wonderful job for them. Other than that, each B&N music department manager, in each individual store, can order what they want.

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