"1201 Music: Hip Factor"
With young ears around the country tuned into swing, no better time exists to convert some new listeners into jazz fans. Achim Neumann, president of 1201 Music in Sea Bright, N.J., understands this, and has launched the Hip Jazz-Bop line of CDs to present jazz to a wider audience. Culled from the Black Lion catalog (originally produced by Nat Hentoff and Alan Bates), each 10-track CD includes classic tunes by the likes of Monk, Miles, Duke and Basie, boxed in a colorful package with a quirky title like Wealth Is Overrated, Batteries Not Included and Chaos Out Of Order.
WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY ABOUT HOW TO MARKET JAZZ TO THE MASSES ?
The current way jazz is marketed does not open up new demographics. We simply have to address demographics, and do this by us bringing the music to the consumer, rather than expecting the consumer to come to us. We have developed very colorful artwork for our covers, illustrated by Jud Guitteau. It specifically targets a younger demographic, and in addition, all of our CDs give a brief overview of what each song is about on the back cover to reduce the barriers even further. We're going to open up demographics.
SPECIFICALLY, WHO IS THE "YOUNG CONSUMER" TO WHOM YOU'RE MARKETING HIP JAZZ-BOP ?
When you're talking about the non-jazz consumer, it ranges as far down as the 25-year-old age group up to about 35. The jazz buyers are older, and we've had a nice response from them as well. It's open-ended toward the top.
HOW ARE YOU GETTING THE PRODUCT IN FRONT OF THE PROPER DEMOGRAPHIC ?
We have a large advertising campaign of about 60-100 insertions in magazines, some that are traditionally not jazz oriented, such as Magnet and ICE. These clearly open up a new demographic. Obviously, this is being accompanied by press contacts to the proper media. And in terms of retail, we have placed product in key retail locations. We have a large promotion with Wherehouse Entertainment, key support from Tower and we're currently talking to virtually every major retailer in the country to give us price and positioning in the respective outlets.
WILL A YOUNG DEMOGRAPHIC USE YOUR CDS AS A SPRINGBOARD TO LEARN MORE ABOUT JAZZ ?
Absolutely. What's intimidating about jazz is that it's a very knowledgeable music. It requires the listener to know something about it before they buy a record. That's a hurdle we're trying to eliminate for young listeners so they can, by virtue of just by looking at the records, get an idea of what this is all about.
YOU HAVE NINE MORE ALBUMS COMING OUT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. THIS GIVES YOU 19 RELEASES IN A HALF YEAR. WHY SO MANY ?
We figure that we need to give the young consumer a wide array of product. We want numerous compilations, some more uptempo, some slower. A line of about 20 recordings constitutes an interesting perspective from both a consumer and a retail side.
IS THIS LINE A REACTION TO THE NEO-SWING MOVEMENT ?
There's no question that this is an extension and a reflection of swing. Out of that, we have to find how we can generate more interest in similar genres of music and satisfy the desire of younger people to find such music.
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