miles65

New Woody Herman Mosaic

245 posts in this topic

Do they pay royalties or do they rely on European copyright laws to avoid doing so?

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No, Bear Family has always licensed everything legitimately. At least that's what I've always heard; I have no firsthand knowledge. ^_^

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Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, Captain Howdy said:

I wonder how Bear Family can succeed selling expensive boxed sets of esoteric music where Mosaic is failing. Is it better sales and marketing? A bigger market? I can't imagine there are too many people interested in buying the complete Mercury recordings of Buddy and Ella Johnson 1953-1964.

Yes, esoteric sometimes is the word. The Buddy Johnson box is a case in point. These Mercury recordings can get repetitive if listened to in larger batches. (A good chunk of them was reissued on LP on Official and they were around for a while so there was a chance for many to listen in or cover their needs). You really have to be a dedicated completist to grab this. For another example, the country music clientele may be a larger one than the jazz faction but people all falling over themselves wanting to grab a 5-CD box set of Tommy Collins' works? (and so on ...) But let's see how they continue in the longer run now that Richard Weize has bowed out.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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3 hours ago, Captain Howdy said:

No, Bear Family has always licensed everything legitimately. At least that's what I've always heard; I have no firsthand knowledge. ^_^

That's it. And that's why they have milked labels to the very last drop that on the face of it are not prime targets for cult reissue fetichists, e.g. Mercury. And apparently they did not license the EmArcy branch of it, or else they would have been able to add a lot to their jazz reissue roster.

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Posted (edited)

I always assumed that a major part of Bear Family’s fan base were the C&W/Wild West recreation fan base in Germany, where I have heard that it is a big thing.

I don’t think Mosaic has been helped over here by their product being effectively invisible in the shops, almost an underground, word of mouth movement amongst those in the know (exception - Mosaic Select in some of the major outlets). In fact I don’t recall ever seeing one if their sets until the mid 1990s and that was in an antique store.

They have got more and more expensive to import - a combination of high postal charges, high import taxes, handling fees and unfavourable exchange rates.

 

Edited by sidewinder

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1 hour ago, Big Beat Steve said:

That's it. And that's why they have milked labels to the very last drop that on the face of it are not prime targets for cult reissue fetichists, e.g. Mercury. And apparently they did not license the EmArcy branch of it, or else they would have been able to add a lot to their jazz reissue roster.

I didn't know Bear had a  jazz reissue roster. Their homepage only lists Rock'n'Roll, Rock/Pop, R&B/Soul, Elvis, Country, and Blues. 

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, sidewinder said:

I always assumed that a major part of Bear Family’s fan base were the C&W/Wild West recreation fan base in Germany, where I have heard that it is a big thing.

 

50s and 60s country music will provide the background to only a small part of that Civil War "reenactment" fan scene (that has abated pretty much by now AFAIK). in the early days they did a fair bit of "contemporary" C&W artists playing in a more traditional style but this was more of a sideline to their R'n'R/rockabilly reissues that have alwawys made up the bulk of their stuff. Still they have never been cheap and their box sets above all rely on extremely high standards (to the extent that they often really are too much of a good thing - are there that many completists for some of these country artists?). The books that go with their box sets really are second to none (yes, even Mosaic pales in comparison) and the only others that I am aware of that come close in that respect come from a label that largely relies on Public Domain material for the music.

@Captain Howdy:

Their "jazz roster" isn't small but choice and VERY much "special interest" stuff even by jazz collectors' standards.

https://www.bear-family.de/bear-family/deutsche-serien/jazz-in-deutschland/

They cannot have been big sellers yet BF hangs on to these items (I bought that Jazz Festival box set some 25 years ago - before I even had a CD player - and several others in the 90s and they are still listed today, even though some are temporarily OOP it seems). 

Others of their items such as their Julia Lee and Louis Jordan sets (offsprings from their deals with the labels they licensed for reissue) straddle the fence of jazz too.

And then they have special items that are a "niche within the jazz niche" such as this one that I only became aware of now when I checked their site for this post:

https://www.bear-family.de/various-history-cotton-club-2-cd.html

Of course they can probably afford to cross-subsidize such items (which is a huge advantage compared to Mosaic) but it takes real dedication to put out something like that in the first place.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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1 hour ago, Big Beat Steve said:

Others of their items such as their Julia Lee and Louis Jordan sets (offsprings from their deals with the labels they licensed for reissue) straddle the fence of jazz too.

I'd consider those R&B in as much as I think they were intended for an R&B market, not a jazz market. That Louis Jordan box is a real exemplar: I wish every significant artist could get the same comprehensive treatment. 

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Posted (edited)

27 minutes ago, Captain Howdy said:

I'd consider those R&B in as much as I think they were intended for an R&B market, not a jazz market. That Louis Jordan box is a real exemplar: I wish every significant artist could get the same comprehensive treatment. 

I sympathize with your approach (In fact I have filed my Louis Jordan - and Buddy Johnson - records in my blues and R&B section, not in the jazz section)  but I am afraid that in part you are wrong. While his Mercury sides leaned towards R&B, the Decca output of his prime years definitely was part of the happenings in jazz. Lumping this in with an "R&B" market (before there was one as such) just because it was "popular" is one of those often-seen pigeonholing efforts that does not do the reality of jazz of the late 30s to early 50s justice. Same with a good deal of what Julia Lee did. You would not want to lump in Benny Goodman of the Carnegie Hall period with U.S "pop" music either just because was "popular", right? ^_^ 

Beyond that comparison, if you look closer it is rather difficult to establish accurate stylistic boundaries and a good deal of R&B WAS part of post-1945 jazz in the way it MATTERED to the African-American audience.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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9 hours ago, Captain Howdy said:

I wonder how Bear Family can succeed selling expensive boxed sets of esoteric music where Mosaic is failing. Is it better sales and marketing? A bigger market? I can't imagine there are too many people interested in buying the complete Mercury recordings of Buddy and Ella Johnson 1953-1964.

They're losing money on these sets. But the more popular stuff and their wide range mail order sale get them funds for them. Many sets issued long ago are still available, like the Louis Jordan box, so their licensing policy must be different.

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My guess is that Mosaic has already done the groundwork for the new Woody Herman set: the research on takes and alternates, working with the label to find the masters and secure the permissions, contract someone to write the booklet, etc.  In this "wind-down" period for them, they have to see whether it's worth it to lay out the money and make it a reality.  I think 3,000 is the smallest run they've ever had.  To look at it another way, if they can't sell such a small amount, it's proof that the jazz market has really contracted; it may no longer be fertile ground to maintain a business.

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I think it's proof that they don't have any faith that they can sell anything past the immediate orders. Can't speak for anybody else, but for me, that's nonsense. I very, very seldom buy stuff like this right away.

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1 hour ago, Big Beat Steve said:

I sympathize with your approach (In fact I have filed my Louis Jordan - and Buddy Johnson - records in my blues and R&B section, not in the jazz section)  but I am afraid that in part you are wrong. While his Mercury sides leaned towards R&B, the Decca output of his prime years definitely was part of the happenings in jazz. Lumping this in with an "R&B" market (before there was one as such) just because it was "popular" is one of those often-seen pigeonholing efforts that does not do the reality of jazz of the late 30s to early 50s justice. Same with a good deal of what Julia Lee did. You would not want to lump in Benny Goodman of the Carnegie Hall period with U.S "pop" music either just because was "popular", right? ^_^ 

Beyond that comparison, if you look closer it is rather difficult to establish accurate stylistic boundaries and a good deal of R&B WAS part of post-1945 jazz in the way it MATTERED to the African-American audience.

Oh I know that. I mean I think Bear sells it as R&B, not jazz. I don't think they're interested in catering to the jazz market.

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50 minutes ago, Captain Howdy said:

Oh I know that. I mean I think Bear sells it as R&B, not jazz. I don't think they're interested in catering to the jazz market.

Yes I agree there. Though I wouldn't say the are "not" interested in the jazz market but rather that this is of low priority to them. So they go where they are more firmly present.

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5 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

 

And then they have special items that are a "niche within the jazz niche" such as this one that I only became aware of now when I checked their site for this post:

https://www.bear-family.de/various-history-cotton-club-2-cd.html

Of course they can probably afford to cross-subsidize such items (which is a huge advantage compared to Mosaic) but it takes real dedication to put out something like that in the first place.

I own this and it's very good though quite expensive and all of the Ellington material is available elsewhere.

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, medjuck said:

I own this and it's very good though quite expensive and all of the Ellington material is available elsewhere.

Wait wait wait ... THAT can be said of a LOT of the Mosaic reissues too. ;)
So each buyer will have to work it out for himself if he sees substantial sonic improvements that warrant the outlay and/or if he wants to buy an item for its "superior" presentation. (I for one would be more interested in the other artists anyway ... yes, Ellington is around, but he isn't the beginning AND end of the Cotton Club history so a wider variety of artists is always welcome to flesh out the (Ellington) bones of this subject matter ;))
As for the price, in Bear Family tradition a good deal of it acounts for the book. 2 CDs with a 125-page full-size book with that lavish a presentation (if the photos are anything to go by) isn't standard stuff.
And one final aspect about price and prior availability, yes that price is high (I am more tempted by the minute ...) but OTOH other publishers (even though SPECIALIZING in books and having a good reputation) have managed to almost ruin a truly excellent subject with sloppy printing and packing in random filler stuff that can be looked up elsewhere and does not add all that much to the actual subject, yet their book is expensive. (google "Bob Inman" if you are curious  ;)) So "flaws" like the question of what's expensive and "not new" after all can be found all too often.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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Posted (edited)

They're going to press it--here's the latest:

New Woody Herman Release

Thanks very much to everyone who has preordered this set!

 
We needed about 700 orders so we wouldn't be underwater on this and we are getting close to the mark. We have decided to move ahead with the project and are targeting an end of year release date/early 2019.

We regret any pressure or inconvenience that this may have caused you in your purchasing decisions.
 
In the future we may be able to release sets that we know will have strong market appeal and will not have to go this route. But there are also others that we are considering that jazz fans may want but have more limited market demand. This type of of marketing certainly is not where we want to be, but this is the only way we could figure out how to proceed. 

Thank you for your support and understanding and we are trying to keep the flame burning.

Michael & Scott

Edited by ghost of miles

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Green light on the Herman box!  They needed 700 orders to go forward.  Expected late this year or early next year.

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4 minutes ago, ghost of miles said:

They're going to press it--here's the latest:

New Woody Herman Release

Thanks very much to everyone who has preordered this set!

 
We needed about 700 orders so we wouldn't be underwater on this and we are getting close to the mark. We have decided to move ahead with the project and are targeting an end of year release date/early 2019.

We regret any pressure or inconvenience that this may have caused you in your purchasing decisions.
 
In the future we may be able to release sets that we know will have strong market appeal and will not have to go this route. But there are also others that we are considering that jazz fans may want but have more limited market demand. This type of of marketing certainly is not where we want to be, but this is the only way we could figure out how to proceed. 

Thank you for your support and understanding and we are trying to keep the flame burning.

Michael & Scott

Simultaneous posts!

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Great stuff. Jazzmessengers.com, here this set comes..(hopefully).

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3 minutes ago, sidewinder said:

Great stuff. Jazzmessengers.com, here this set comes..(hopefully).

So for some reason I'm still not completely clear on the whole Jazzmessengers thing. Are they resellers for the European market? 

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10 minutes ago, ghost of miles said:

we are trying to keep the flame burning.

I do hope they print enough to last a year or two.

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2 minutes ago, Scott Dolan said:

So for some reason I'm still not completely clear on the whole Jazzmessengers thing. Are they resellers for the European market? 

Yes - at considerable cost savings for those European customers.

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Posted (edited)

15 minutes ago, Kevin Bresnahan said:

Yes - at considerable cost savings for those European customers.

Depends on how you go about it and what the actual box set is.

I was eager to get my hands on the Savory box set and chose the cheaper US of the two airmail shipping rates quoted by Mosaic. Still got it several weeks before Jazzmessengers had it listed and in the end I paid about $5 more (INCLUDING our customs duties) than what I would have paid at Jazzmessengers all included. I'm fine with that.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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