May 12, 2014 Last Updated 3:25 pm

All About Jazz publishes 2nd online magazine issue dedicated solely to Blue Note Records

First issue of their Issuu hosted digital magazine was read by over 100K readers its publisher says

The jazz music website has published its second edition of its online magazine which uses Issuu to produce its flipbook styled digital publications. As a lover of both jazz and the website, I was happy to hear from founder Michael Ricci today about the new issue.

AAJMag-2-coverThe second issue, Ricci wrote me, is much more digitally native – though those are my words, not his.

“It’s more visual than the first issue and we really loaded it up with links,” Ricci said.

The issue does feel more visual, with layouts that are less like the web and more like a magazine – though the online magazine still mimics print far more than I think it necessary. I would still prefer a tablet magazine to an online flipbook, but All About Jazz has a tremendous online readership and so this may be the solution that will work best.

Ricci told TNM that the first issue had over 105,000 readers (see original TNM post on that first issue here) and he is hoping that this second issue will hit 200,000.

As far as I can see it has a good chance. The issue is all about Blue Note Records which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. The issue is solely dedicated to the label and features a mix of stories about the label’s new artists, and a look back at the history of the label including the photography of Francis Wolff.

More on Blue Note after the screenshot gallery:

[tribulant_slideshow gallery_id=”28″]

Blue Note Records, if you are not familiar with it, is an amazing record label, and an incredible story. Founded in 1939 by Alfred Lion, a German born Jew who founded the label one year after returning to the U.S. with the funding help of Max Margulis, who wrote music reviews for left-wing publications such as the Daily Worker. Lion was quickly joined in the effort Francis Wolff who had been a commercial photographer in Germany.

Blue Note was known as musician’s label for the fact that the label paid the musicians for rehearsal time prior to the recording sessions. As a result, Blue Note releases were likely to contain original compositions, as opposed to a label like Prestige which too often contain jam sessions. “The difference between Blue Note and Prestige is two days’ rehearsal,” producer Bob Porter supposedly said.

The label was among the first to embrace bebop and the superiority of the label’s releases can most easily be seen in John Coltrane’s Blue Train which features an all-star band, but also is tight, original, and thrilling compared to the many releases Coltrane produced for Prestige before finally finding a home at Atlantic, then Impulse.

I could go on because I must own hundreds of Blue Note recordings, both on CD and LP.


A portion of my own CD/DVD collection, the rest are in boxes

With word that Apple will be buying Beats Electronics, probably more for its streaming service than its headphones, it brings up the topic of whither the recording industry? For someone who would agree with Steve Jobs’ belief that people want to own their music, not rent it, I now have to admit that times are changing and this may no longer be true.

The more time that goes by the more I wonder where we go from here. There is a bit of a contradiction built into a subscription model such as what Beats Music offers. I can listen to almost any CD release I want (assuming I subscribe) but the fact that it is a subscription model means releasing a CD (or LP) makes less sense. The 40 minute LP (less than 35 minutes for those ’70s Italian LPs) was replaced by the 60 minute (or so) CD. But if few people buy physical media in the future what will the album format look like? I suppose it will be without limits.

But I know that this has to be scary for musicians. The record labels did business with Apple because it was incremental revenue (they believed). The few dollars they received was too tempting to refuse. So, too, are the dollars coming in from streaming. But while the Internet and music downloading/streaming has made it possible to be exposed to more and less well-known artists, the musicians haven’t necessarily benefited. One member of the band Miriodor told me in 2010 that while their releases are now reaching more listeners in more countries, the money they get for that exposure is simply not much to talk about.

So while iTunes and streaming may be good for Apple, Dr. Dre, and maybe even EMI and the other record companies, the future of music for the artists still feels uncertain.

If Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff were around today I might feel more certain about the future of recorded music.

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