Promoting recording artists of power and distinction since 2003.
We’re Off To The Grammys!
Motéma is proud and excited to announce that two of our albums have received nominations for the 54th Annual Grammy® Awards, and two artists are on compilation albums that are also nominated! A big congratulations to Roseanna Vitro: Best Jazz Vocal Album nominee for The Music Of Randy Newman and Monty Alexander: Best Reggae Album nominee for Harlem-Kingston Express Live!
Geri Allen collaborated on Terri Lynne Carrington’s Mosaic Project, Best Jazz Vocal Nominee [Concord Jazz] and Oran Etkin has selections on the children’s compilation, All About Bullies…Big And Small, Best Children’s Album Nominee [Cool Beans Music & East Coast Recording Company]. Congrats to both of them for being a part of these wonderful and inspiring projects. Please visit the links above to learn more.
It’s been another amazing year of music, with impressive releases all across the board. We’re proud of the achievements of everyone on the Motéma roster, and are thrilled to see the Grammys® recognizing the talent of these artists.
ROSEANNA VITRO’S THE RANDY NEWMAN PROJECT BEST JAZZ VOCAL NOMINEE
With the Grammy® nominated The Music Of Randy Newman, Roseanna Vitro explored groundbreaking new territory, as the first jazz vocalist to explore the richly melodic, sharply observant Randy Newman songbook. Her fearlessness paid off, earning her a Best Jazz Vocal Album nomination. Many took notice of Vitro’s fresh arrangements and orchestrations of these classic songs, who worked closely with her manager, Jeff Levenson to bring to light. Randy Newman himself was compelled to rave, “Roseanna is a great artist.”
The critics agree: DownBeat rated the album 4 1/2 stars while Jazz Times declared Vitro “..one of the most compelling vocal stylists around.”
Other nominees in this category include:
Karrin Allyson, ‘Round Midnight [Concord Jazz]
Terri Lyne Carrington & Various Artists, The Mosaic Project, [Concord Jazz]
Kurt Elling, The Gate, [Concord Jazz]
Tierney Sutton (Band), American Road, [BFM Jazz]
MONTY ALEXANDER’S HARLEM-KINGSTON EXPRESS LIVE! BEST REGGAE ALBUM NOMINEE
Monty Alexander celebrated his 50th year of phenomenal musicianship by releasing two outstanding recordings: the now Grammy® nominated Harlem-Kingston Express Live! and Uplift (via Jazz Legacy Productions). Co-Produced by Jana Herzen, Katherine Miller, and Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola’s Todd Barkan (who introduced Motéma and Monty to each other), the Best Reggae Album nomination is truly a fantastic accomplishment in what has been a hugely successful year for the pianist. Upon its release, Harlem-Kingston Express Live! dominated the airwaves, reaching #1 on both Jazzweek’s Jazz and World radio charts, while press buzzed over the album’s Jamaican influences, which include elements of mento, ska as well as R&B.
Jazziz heralded the project a “joyous recording,” and NY Daily News labeled it a “honeymoon of musical bliss.”
Monty Alexander is nominated alongside:
Israel Vibration, Reggae Knights [Mediacom/VPAL]
Stephen Marley, Revelation Pt. 1: The Root Of Life
[Tuff Gong/Universal Republic]
Ziggy Marley, Wild And Free, [Tuff Gong Worldwide]
Shaggy, Summer In Kingston, [Ranch Entertainment]
Gregory Porter, Geri Allen, TK Blue and Randy Weston are all JJA Jazz Awards 2011 nominees!
Renowned artist Geri Allen is nominated for Pianist of the Year up against Fred Hersch, Jason Moran, Kenny Barron, Matthew Shipp and Vijay Iyer, while soul singer Gregory Porter is nominated for Male Singer of the Year alongside nominees Bobby McFerrin, Freddy Cole, Giacomo Gates, and Kurt Elling.
Geri and Gregory have had great years so far. Geri and Timeline was nominated for Outstanding Jazz Album for the 42nd NAACP Image Awards this past year, and Gregory received a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album for his Motema debut Water. The album currently holds the #1 spot on the UK iTunes Jazz Album chart.
Producer/director Brian Grady received a nomination for Best Short Form Jazz Video of the Year for the video he did for T.K. Blues, Latin Bird. Randy Weston was nominated for Best Book About Jazz for his autobiography African Rhythms (composed by Randy Weston/arranged by Willard Jenkins; Duke University Press). In addition Lena Adasheva’s photo of Benny Powell which was used in Randy Weston’s package was nominated for Best Picture of the Year.
Furthermore trumpeter, composer, and arranger David Weiss of The New Jazz Composers Octect received a nomination for Arranger of the Year.
Motema’s artists are in great company. We are thrilled by the news, and congratulate all the artists and nominees!
Details about the Jazz Awards via the JJA press release:
The winners in each category will be chosen by the votes of the professional journalist members of the JJA, the non-profit professional organization of jazz writers, broadcasters, photographers and new media producers.
The winners will be announced at a benefit Gala at City Winery in New York City on June 11, 2011, from 1 to 5 pm EDT. The Gala, with Awards presentations and featured musical performances, will be video streamed live online at jjaJazzAwards.org and simultaneously celebrated with satellite parties thrown by jazz fans and grass roots organizations in cities around the U.S. and elsewhere.
This year’s Jazz Awards nominees demonstrate the musical vigor of jazz’s elders as well the fresh spirits of its new stars: In the Musician of the Year award category, for example, tenor sax legend Sonny Rollins, age 80, vies with 26-year-old bassist/ vocalist Esperanza Spalding (who received the 2011 Grammy for “Best New Artist” ).
In a time when digital consumerism reigns, the physical music market is far from dead. To some chagrin, this is not to say that record stores will soon re-open their doors. Just about anyone with the remotest interest in music knows that CDs are dying off, and that many albums are now dropping in digital format only. And, perhaps comically, we must acknowledge that a whole, new generation of music consumers have never seen or heard of a cassette tape. But this doesn’t mean that the physical music market is dead or will ever completely die off, thanks to the resurgence of interest in vinyl records.
According to Nielsen Entertainment, vinyl sales have been rising noticeably over the past four years. In 2009 alone, 2.5 million vinyl albums were sold, up from 1.8 million sales in 2008. According to the Senior Vice President of Nielsen Entertainment, David Bakula, vinyl sales are still on the rise. Bakula commented, “As surprising as it may sound, LP sales are up again this year, and 2009 had the highest number of LP sales ever since we started tracking them.”
The increased interest in vinyl is not to be confused with the overall wellbeing of the music industry. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry has determined that overall global record company revenues fell by 7.2% in 2009, only bringing in $17 billion. Even though global digital sales rose 9.32%, the combined sale of CDs, tapes and vinyl – i.e. physical sales – fell by 12.7%. Despite the rise in digital and vinyl sales, the music industry must still come up with creative solutions to make up for the persistent drop in music sales. (more…)
For this year’s APAP, Motema’s artists were showcasing at the Hilton’s Bridges Bar from sun up to sun down, as well as performing at the Iridium and Winter Jazz Fest. We met a lot of wonderful people, made some great connections and received lots of positive feedback about Motema, our artists and the success of our showcases. Thank you to everyone that helped us make this years APAP a smashing success. Whether you checked out the showcases, said hello to us at the booth or grabbed a brochure to find out more – we appreciate everyone’s enthusiasm for the label.
APAP is working hard on creating some wonderful outlets for the jazz community including an online forum on their website. Their aim is to build and tighten the jazz community, create closer connections and support jazz’s history, future and sustainability. We look forward to these ideas coming into full development in 2011 and beyond. We will be sure to keep our subscribers posted when we get news of these advancements.
One excellent resource to consult is the Jazz Forward Coalition. The site was started up to support the jazz community and focuses on economics, trends, technology and rights. Their monthly newsletter titled The Business of Jazz is great for staying up to date on what’s happening in all these areas of the industry.
We are excited about the growing number of outlets that are springing up to assist the jazz community and look forward to the new opportunities and relationships these platforms will foster. We are confident that the industry will continue to grow as more people find themselves drawn to this rich art form.
What sites/companies do you consult? How do you want the jazz community to grow/change in the next year?
During APAP Motema visited a number of panel discussions about the music industry, current trends, and where the future is headed. One of the panels was the Future of Technology on the Arts which highlighted trends and challenges that the industry faces. One major issue holding music back is a focus on copyright issues and navigating the current landscape via outdated legal structures. While the industry continues to face many challenges, there are many changes taking shape as well.
One topic that’s been much discussed for years now is the Subscription Model for music downloads – paying a monthly fee for downloading music instead of paying per song. The other is the growing popularity of Variable Pricing and Patronage Models. Many artists are embracing the Variable Method where they decide what to charge fans (Radiohead were pioneers in this, voluntarily giving away their music for free). Whereas the Patronage Model lets fans decide the selling price. Bandcamp caters to both models allowing artists to set a price, offer a free download, or let fans choose the price. Kickstarter is the ultimate patronage tool where artists seek financial support from fans to fund new projects. Funding is determined by fans’ investment and commitment to the project. These models will continue to dominate the download landscape as we move forward in 2011.
Artist as a Brand
One thing many artists are struggling with is accepting that in today’s world artists are more than musicians – they are content providers and brands. It’s important to capitalize on new media platforms to reach out to fans as well as grow your audience. Whether its YouTube, Twitter, Facebook or something else, there are a number of artists who have been utilizing these platforms successfully. An example that was mentioned during the Future of Technology on the Arts panel is the band Ok Go. The band shot in their backyard a choreographed dance to their song “A Million Ways,” and uploaded the video to YouTube. An instant hit, the popularity of the video led to the band launching dance contests, and filming subsequent choreographed videos. The video for “Here It Goes Again” ultimately won the Grammy award for Best Short-Form Music Video.
As for 2011 and beyond many believe we are moving toward an open-source format. Apple utilizes open source for its iPhones where techies can create apps for the public to download onto their phones to improve program functioning. Adding shared data allows other programs to work with the web structure and highlights the value of collaborating. There is lots of potential that can be unleashed if the industry grows as a community and works together in this way – sharing software, and tools to deliver a more heightened/user-friendly experience to listeners.
Where do you see the future of the music industry headed? Any changes you anticipate/or would like to see in 2011?
Many musicians are hesitant to embrace the digital age. As the music industry became reliant on the digital exploitation of music in lieu of moving physical units, some artists have concerns over whether digital platforms compromise the authenticity of the musical experience.
The music industry relies on branding artists to the extent that musicians and record labels can monetize the musician’s celebrity. The digital age allows artists to handcraft the musical experience that each fan witnesses. This provides artists with a hands-on opportunity to uniquely shape the ways in which they are heard, seen, felt, and otherwise perceived by their fan base.
This digitally created branding experience allows independent artists and record labels to go toe-to-toe with the majors. As a result, artists are no longer reliant on landing big record deals in order in to gain listenership, fans, or to move merchandise. So long as the artists have access to a computer – as well as a minimal amount of capital – they can record, edit, and distribute their music as professionally as the majors. This places any artist in direct competition with major recording artists.
Although independent artists and record labels are now competing with major labels at astronomical levels, major labels still have a great advantage over artists who are unwilling to go digital and artists who are unable to penetrate key and foreign markets.
A big concern within the music industry is that digital media, by its very nature, has forced the music industry to become elastic. This elasticity requires artists to develop creative, strategic, the rapidly innovative marketing schemes. Without such marketing schemes, artists are simply unheard. Artists must keep up with the fast paced nature of the ever evolving digital world. Since technology has spoiled listeners with instantaneous gratification and the ability to receive everything the listeners could ever want, marketing an artist in the digital age requires the utmost diligence.
Tom Conrad the CTO of Pandora delivered an engaging presentation to A2IM members during Indie Week about the continued growth of the company.
Pandora has blossomed into a major player in radio. Nearly half of non-interactive streaming activity online is spent on Pandora, with more people listening to online radio over personal music files. Since launching an application for phones, Pandora’s listeners have surged as a result of having the freedom to now stream on the go. As of today Pandora has about 55 million listeners.
Pandora greatly supports independent music with half of its music streamed coming from Indies. Having a relationship with Sound Exchange, these Independents receive royalties for the music streamed as well.
A creative, innovative company, Pandora continues to make strides in the music industry, during a time of unpredictability and rapid change. Supporting the rights of artists and labels, the company provides royalties, promotion and influence. For example, Conrad explained that Pandora listeners are more likely to purchase music online, and for every one song downloaded, Pandora influences an additional four song purchases. This is an impressive number, in a time where music purchases continue to decline.
Pandora’s model has proven successful. Artists should recognize the value of their services, and make sure their music is submitted to the site for streaming. Other companies should be taking note, and keeping an eye on Pandora. They are making changes for the better, and hopefully the industry will continue to progress in this direction, realizing the necessity in supporting artists’ work.
Motema was happy to listen in on the enriching presentation, and learn so much about this impressive and inspiring company. It’s great to know that there are outlets and changes being made in the industry for the better.
Do you listen to Pandora? Have they ever influenced a purchase decision? Should other companies follow suit?
written by Gillian Driscoll
Last week A2IM (American Association of Independent Music) celebrated its 5th anniversary which coincided with Indie Week. The function featured a series of breakout discussions, guest speakers and networking opportunities. It was an action-packed week and Motema staffers attended a number of events including Think Tank, Licensing Day, Tech Day and more.
A highlight of the week was hearing about how the entertainment marketplace differs in Europe compared to the US. Europe has made strides in passing legislation to support artist rights and royalty revenues. Most notably the DEA (Digital Economy Act) was passed in the UK on June 12th, and sets in place provisions to protect against piracy, infringement as well as regulations on copyright, tv, radio and more. Read about the DEA in greater detail.
In addition France has set in place government funding in support of the music sector, and has also proposed a Google tax to raise money for creative industries.