Jazz It Up!- new Jazz multimedia news service

Bandwidth is finally catching up to the plans of multi-media producers.
Back in 1999 I started producing a Jazz series in NYC meant for Internet broadcast. Investment bankers were dumping hundreds on millions into online multi-media entertainment start ups. All the major networks were getting nervous that they might miss the Internet TV revolution and were adding their own Internet multi-media production studios. I'm sure you don't remember MTV's Internet only show called 'the Bunker'. It was a Big Brother rip off, except that it took place in a post-apocalyptic cement bunker under the Viacom building in Time Square. Viewers could log on and choose any of the camera's to watch the Bunker's occupants and decide who to kick out. This was right at the new millennium when New Yorkers were heading to safer ground and the army was setting up chemical decontamination showers in Central Park, don't forget the 40,000 body bags that were brought in. With all that happening Mayor Giuliani has the gall to tell everyone that everything is perfectly fine and don't let your party plans be affected by the government's plans for the apocalypse.

This was also the point when Napster was at it's peak and record companies were also shitting major bricks. The entire entertainment industry was expecting their own immanent apocalypse because of the promises that were being made about fiber optic broadband in every American city in just about two to three years.

Napster ended up getting squashed, though digital music distribution has since revolutionized the music industry. Digital streaming multi-media hasn't supplanted television yet as was predicted back at the millennium. All those fiber optic hubs and cables were for the most part abandoned when the stock market crash happened in 2000, which was pretty close to a financial apocalypse. At present most homes have at least DSL internet connections, which may not be fast enough to watch HD streaming TV. It is however fast enough for folks to happily spend many hours watching blurry videos of people's cats on YouTube. YouTube has been revolutionary for Jazz in a way. It's allowed anyone to watch thousands of hours of Jazz videos for free. All of those great European Jazz TV shows are now accessible as well as a shit load of live performances. Any YouTube fan will admit that the sound and video quality is pretty bunk compared to actual television, or even streaming porn. So the promise of high quality streaming Jazz multi-media still hasn't materialized yet.

My own internet Jazz multi-media series, called 'Inner Jazz', is still mostly in the Casa Valdez Studio vaults. Three episodes were aired on cable TV and also streamed on the internet. Jeff Ballard pulled his episode because he didn't feel that he presented his material organized enough (even though he was burning). Over the last several years I've continued to shoot more footage of great Jazz musicians playing and talking about their art. I've built up many hours of unedited material that I need to get to. If the bandwidth bottleneck finally burst I would have a bit more incentive.

I still produce DVD demos for musicians that I shoot in the TV studio or on location. It's a really smart idea for every band to have a nice promotional DVD as well as a CD. Bookers really want to see a band performing and a DVD is an impressive addition to your promo package. If you call most established media production companies they will quote you prices ranging from $1500 to $5000 for a nice DVD. Instead try Craig's list or call the local film schools to find young film makers. You should be about to find someone to produce a DVD for under a thousand dollars. I'm going to soon start posting all of the DVD demos I've been producing. I have a very fast server and the quality will smoke YouTube. Now I just need to find the time to get all that footage out of the vault and onto the web.

'Jazz it up' is a new attempt web only multi-media music programming. It is advertised as a web based multi-media newsletter. Each new episode they send you an email and all you do is click a link to watch the program. So far 160,000 people have watched the promotional trailer and premiere show. The Internet’s first jazz news TV series is co-produced and hosted by print and broadcast journalist Greg Thomas.

“We’re extremely excited about the reception of the jazz community to Jazz it Up!,” says Thomas. “Our goals are to expand the jazz audience, and to heighten appreciation and support of this profound yet accessible musical idiom, the musicians who keep it alive, and the jazz music industry itself.”

So far it looks to me like it could have some promise. I'll keep you updated as new shows air.

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