5 September 2008

Doing business

I have no problems with aspects of jazz as business, not just as art. Let’s face it, you have to eat. But it’s not just that. Those players who commit themselves to the profession are the most practiced, so generally the most capable. The ones who also have a decent talent are the artists, and they are the ones we most admire. Let me mention some recent music business transactions: they show the range of experiences, one good and one bad.

Firstly, the good. Thanks and praise to Rode mics. For the last year, I’ve been recording local and visiting jazz performers*. I’ve learnt a lot and my recordings have improved markedly. I’ve moved from mini-disk (very good) with various mics (just OK), to Zoom H4 (excellent and easy) with internal mics (surprisingly good), then to a RØDE NT4 stereo mic (excellent). The latest incarnation of my recording kit gives truly satisfying results given a quiet location, decent mic placement and some mastering (a significant skill in itself): a low noise floor and a smooth, well balanced and extended frequency range from deep bass to clear high cymbals. There are some niggles (battery drain, setting levels, etc) and it can never match close miking for immediacy, but for the price and ease of use, this setup gives truly amazing results. Chris Deacon at ArtSound put me on to Rode: he swears by them for quality and value for money. They even offer a 10 year warranty. I’d bought second hand, but when I had a problem, they still provided quick and responsive service and a free repair. This is a great Australian company (located in Sydney and manufacturing here in Australia) that produces world class products at reasonable prices. CJ is happy to give great plaudits. Thanks to RØDE and highly recommended!

Secondly, the bad. I’ve reported on playing at the National Museum with my very capable jazz/disco band, Crisp. It was a gig with the celebrity medico-clown, Patch Adams, as speaker. Well, we didn’t get a cheque until we’d hassled for some time and then the cheque was stopped, so members of the band are taking the case to the Small Claims Court. There are reports on the Net of the organiser doing similarly questionable things in the US. Given his actions, it’s interesting (although doesn’t surprise me) that he praised the Lord and presented as a born-again committed Christian in that common US mould. I won’t give names (damn our legal system), but it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Many musos have occasional experiences like this. We should all be aware, be business-like, get contracts, keep records, stand up for our rights, etc, but it will still probably happen occasionally. In the meantime, read this Dear bandleader joke. Performing musos will understand.

*BTW, musos have been very generous in allowing me to record them. In return, I’m a stickler for not abusing their permissions. I always provide copies to the performers, and never make copies for others without their permission. It’s a personal commitment to those who allow me to record.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Australian Musicians Union?