Teasing the Korean

Sales and Distribution of Jazz LPs, circa 1948-1964

105 posts in this topic

On 10/17/2021 at 4:58 AM, The Magnificent Goldberg said:

And Jug was surely more important to the company than any other musician.   

MG

Is this right? 

I don't have a clue regarding the sales figures.  This is a company that had Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, but Gene Ammons was their most important artist?

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45 minutes ago, GA Russell said:

Is this right? 

I don't have a clue regarding the sales figures.  This is a company that had Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, but Gene Ammons was their most important artist?

Sales wise, absolutely.   

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I don't think it was released when intended, I think it sat in the can for a while.

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6 hours ago, felser said:

Sales wise, absolutely.   

Are there figures available? I’d love to know how they compared.

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In terms of immediate cash-flow, I'm sure that Jug made that happen. But the classic Miles records I suspect created a sustainable stream of income as well.

Is Jug selling now? Well hell, how can he be, what are they offering us?

Fucking revisionist cooperate erasurepigs...

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I am not aware of any academic work on this topic, but that is what is needed. In literary studies we have for a long time paid attention to questions of readership, distribution, advertisement and cognate areas. Influenced by the once entirely separate field of the history of the book, we have paid increasing attention to publishers, booksellers, bookshops, nd other sites and mechanisms of distribution. Literary studies is a heavily resourced field. Music less so, not least because a large part of music studies is practice-oriented (performance and composition), the technical barrier to entry is high, and the scholarship of the kind which would be useful in answering the OPs question is thin on the ground, not least because there is more fundamental work yet to be done on basics as far as the last century or so is concerned. This work - or some of it - will I think eventually come, in the same way we understand to some extent at least how earlier markets for music functioned (e.g. Handel, Mozart) and, while I haven't checked it, I imagine we have a similar level of knowledge re. big names as to the personal finances of e.g. Bartok and Ellington. Now I don't follow music scholarship very much and there may be more out there than I suspect, but I should think there is much further to go in the study of venues, publications, advertising outside specialist publications, and we probably haven't made much of a start on jazz producers, record stores, etc. I daresay there is more of this kind of thing on e.g. rock, punk, pop. All that said, I haven't done much of a search on this, and if people are aware of good sources it would be useful to see the references posted here.

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12 hours ago, David Ayers said:

I am not aware of any academic work on this topic, but that is what is needed. In literary studies we have for a long time paid attention to questions of readership, distribution, advertisement and cognate areas. 

I have long wished that there were a website which listed both the album's recording dates and its release date.

For example, I would be interested in seeing a chronological list of the releases of Coltrane's albums.  Prestige and Atlantic were still releasing items after impulse! started to release theirs, weren't they?

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8 hours ago, GA Russell said:

I have long wished that there were a website which listed both the album's recording dates and its release date.

For example, I would be interested in seeing a chronological list of the releases of Coltrane's albums.  Prestige and Atlantic were still releasing items after impulse! started to release theirs, weren't they?

It took me years to figure out the release dates of Miles' recordings.  I think  Losin was able to nail most of them.  Old Schwann catalogues help.   Release dates really change the history.  

Edited by medjuck

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Why does this matter to anyone? Serious question.

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1 hour ago, Chuck Nessa said:

Why does this matter to anyone? Serious question.

Chuck, knowing the release dates allows me to imagine what it was like to be a fan ten or fifteen years older than me.

Regarding the musicians, some were influenced by others.  There are time lags in the recording process.  Smith records an album.  Then Jones records an album.  Then Smith's album is released.  Jones is affected by Smith's album, and records a new album (influenced by Smith).

Maybe like some of Wayne Shorter's Blue Notes, Jones's first album is not released until years later.  I would find that interesting.

Speaking of Wayne Shorter, I would like to see a chronology of his recordings compared to the release dates of his Miles and Weather Report albums.

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9 hours ago, Chuck Nessa said:

Why does this matter to anyone? Serious question.

Because people are influenced by what they hear on records.  Not everyone lives in a large city where they can hear live music.  

Even in large cities an audience that's had a chance to listen to a band's new music  on record is going to react differently than if they haven't.   E.g.  Had the audience that heard Miles at Newport in '55 heard Musings of Miles or the December 24,'54 session? 

Edited by medjuck

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12 hours ago, Chuck Nessa said:

Why does this matter to anyone? Serious question.

To understand an artist's development accurately perhaps. Which to some fans is an interesting aspect of following a musician's music. When you released "Before There was Sound" why did you choose that title other than to indicate where it sat chronologically?  If that hadn't been any issue to anyone you could have titled it "Roscoe's Latest".

Edited by mjazzg

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12 hours ago, Chuck Nessa said:

Why does this matter to anyone? Serious question.

Which part of the discussion are you referring to?  The conversation has taken some twists and turns, as happens.

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On 10/21/2021 at 5:22 PM, GA Russell said:

  Prestige and Atlantic were still releasing items after impulse! started to release theirs, weren't they?

Oh yeah, quite a few.  Check Discogs.  "Coltrane's Sound" came out in 1964, "Bahia" in 1965.

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Any recording can influence other musicians and the public only after it is available, that is why release dates are important.

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54 minutes ago, mikeweil said:

Any recording can influence other musicians and the public only after it is available, that is why release dates are important.

You summed it up well, and I am surprised that this point needed to be made at all. It's that evident ...

 

 

On 21.10.2021 at 10:38 AM, David Ayers said:

I am not aware of any academic work on this topic, but that is what is needed. ... and the scholarship of the kind which would be useful in answering the OPs question is thin on the ground, not least because there is more fundamental work yet to be done on basics as far as the last century or so is concerned.  ... Now I don't follow music scholarship very much and there may be more out there than I suspect, but I should think there is much further to go in the study of venues, publications, advertising outside specialist publications, and we probably haven't made much of a start on jazz producers, record stores, etc. I daresay there is more of this kind of thing on e.g. rock, punk, pop. All that said, I haven't done much of a search on this, and if people are aware of good sources it would be useful to see the references posted here.

As a starter, a brief period (early 60s) look at the jazz market might be found in the "The Jazz Business" and "The Public" chapters in "The Jazz Scene" by Francis Newton.

And since you mention record shops, have you seen or read "Going for a Song - A Chronicle of the UK Record Shop" by Garth Cartwright? It essentially covers record shops from the early post-war years to the general demise of record shops. Of course it mostly focuses on all sorts of rock but there are chapters on Dobell's and his contemporaries as well as on record shops important to 70s jazz, funk etc.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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3 hours ago, mikeweil said:

Any recording can influence other musicians and the public only after it is available, that is why release dates are important.

A recording, sure, but most music is not recorded. Influence often happens at the local/community/regional level of internal interactions. What makes it to record is usually an end product, after which the process of external influence begins  Or doesn't.

Maybe that should all be in past tense.

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, JSngry said:

A recording, sure, but most music is not recorded. Influence often happens at the local/community/regional level of internal interactions. What makes it to record is usually an end product, after which the process of external influence begins  Or doesn't.

Maybe that should all be in past tense.

Probably past tense.  However in studying the history there are cases where the recordings show us what had already happened live (Birth of the Cool) and recordings that tell us what we're next going to hear live (KOB-- though in that case the famous tv version of So What was done in the midst of the recording session).

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12 minutes ago, medjuck said:

Probably past tense.  However in studying the history there are cases where the recordings show us what had already happened live (Birth of the Cool) and recordings that tell us what we're next going to hear live (KOB-- though in that case the famous tv version of So What was done in the midst of the recording session).

That live So What was not from the KOB recording session. It was some CBS TV show. 

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12 minutes ago, JSngry said:

That live So What was not from the KOB recording session. It was some CBS TV show. 

True, but the date for the TV show happened in-between (in the midst of) the recording dates for KOB, iirc.

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The recordings are ultimately what survive, until we perfect time travel.  The live gigs allowed musicians to stay in practice and pay the rent so that they could make good albums.  

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... and the recordings in many cases have wider distribution - depending on the label's capacities - than watching a live performance, even within the US. Biographies of jazz musicians abound with people raving about records that blew their minds.

Edited by mikeweil

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True enough, but if/ when we allow perception of reality to be dictated solely by manufactured product, we succumb to somebody's else's agendas.

In historical jazz, this matters greatly, because so much of the music's were created with no intention of there being anybody around except who was there anyway. In some cases, like Jerry Newman's stash, there was some fortuitous eavesdropping going on. In other cases, like all that went on in those non-stop Kansas City days ..nothing except oral histories and some kind of after the fact imaginative connect the dots is the best we can conure. We know it happened, though.

Records are not all we have, and although records tell A story, they do not tell THE story. Music happens without records, and what gets to a record is the result of somebody deciding what and who THEY like.

A culture that allows itself to be solely dictated to and defined by an external industry is a culture that has volunteered for an existence of erasable and interchangeable slavery.

46 minutes ago, Teasing the Korean said:

The recordings are ultimately what survive, until we perfect time travel. 

Only in a documentary-centric culture. In an oral or otherwise experientially based culture, the "records" are not limited to manufactured objects. 

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17 minutes ago, JSngry said:

True enough, but if/ when we allow perception of reality to be dictated solely by manufactured product, we succumb to somebody's else's agendas.

In historical jazz, this matters greatly, because so much of the music's were created with no intention of there being anybody around except who was there anyway. In some cases, like Jerry Newman's stash, there was some fortuitous eavesdropping going on. In other cases, like all that went on in those non-stop Kansas City days ..nothing except oral histories and some kind is after the fact imaginative connect the dots 

Records are not all we have, a d although records tell A story, they do not tell THE story. Music happens without records, and what gets to a record is the result of somebody deciding what and who THEY like.

We get that, but from a functional/practical standpoint, the record is all that is left after the artist is dead.  Even while an artist is alive, the record is all that exists for most listeners.  If music is meant to be a live event experienced in the moment, only a tiny sliver of listeners gets to enjoy it. 

This is setting aside the fact that many of my favorite albums were conceived for the studio and were never performed live.  

I consider live gigs to be merely way for the jazz musician to get paid and stay in practice between recording sessions.  

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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