It’s the time of year for saving money!
I had an “ah ha” moment recently, discovering a loose trend amidst some decidedly non-scientific research I’ve been quietly conducting relative to my reviews here on Audiophile Review. Here is the non-science part (which I realize some of you might call non-sense): I keep track of how my published pieces are doing by watching the counter on each blog, counting the number of “shares” of a particular story across social media.
I don’t study this closely, mind you nor do I dwell upon it. But… when a story gets some “traction” as they say in the industry, it is a good feeling to know that people are likely reading my writing and spreading the word and maybe even getting turned on to some good new music they may have not heard of before. Its even better when people who have seen and read the articles give us feedback. Some readers do this on Social Media platforms like Facebook and Instagram while others take the extra step and leave us comments at the end of each blog posting here on Audiophile Review.
But, all that is not really super surprising…
What is surprising is that fans of certain bands and certain types of music “seem” to be more engaged and passionate than others when it comes to the Internet and Social Media. How do I know this? Well, I am guessing based on the number of re-shares which show up on our tracker for a particular article. Again, remember my caveat that this is decidedly non-scientific observation.
Take my recent review of the new album by Yes’ Jon Anderson. In the first day of its publishing it was re-shared more than 200 times. Not super amazing performance (especially compared to my review of Yes’ Close to the Edge 5.1 surround Blu-ray which is currently at more than 7,000 shares!) but also not bad given the album is not being sold on Amazon and as of this writing was not yet on all the streaming music services.
On the contrary, my review of an album by jazz great Wes Montgomery has only been shared about 40 times and more than half of those shares were by myself to a multitude of social media platforms. Its a bit sad and pathetic showing as the album is great!
What seems to be the problem?
Well, here again is my non-scientific best guess: fans of certain bands and certain types of music are simply more engaged and into “their” music. Accordingly they participate and actively spread the word to friends and acquaintances. While we don’t know this for sure and there are certainly many other reasons why one story might be more popular than others — quality of the news headline, news clutter on the day of the story’s release, etc. — it stands to reason that the groups and artists with engaged fans participating on Social Media are doing more to help get the word out about a positive review, leading toward a viral distribution of the article.
My articles written about the Beatles, Yes, Jimi Hendrix and XTC have all been re-shared a lot, some many thousands of times. Heck, even my review of the first album reissue by San Francisco’s Flamin’ Groovies has been shared more than 400 times!
Yet, my articles about Jazz however tend to just sit there, relatively speaking. Here are links (click on the underlined text) to some reviews about amazing artists like Bill Evans and Jaco Pastorious. On one hand these are “ok” showings for a Jazz release (archival live recordings) but then I have higher hopes for these releases and more respect for the artists to accept such a response. Perhaps the most sad-trombone-inducing response to a review is for a fine CD and streaming reissue by Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong — this is some amazing music by two of of Jazz’ most beloved legends. Even a new fusion oriented band I discovered from England, Mammal Hands, isn’t getting much traction it deserves.
What gives folks?
Well… looking at this as a broad stroke / big picture snapshot, we can infer some interesting pointers. Perhaps — and I say this with the love and enthusiasm of a long time Jazz fan myself — Jazz fans need to be more aggressive about helping to spread the news about their favorite form of music and their favorite artists. It’s not that hard to make that leap even with this non scientific information I have at my disposal.
And this process isn’t that hard. If you see a review about an artist you appreciate showing up on your newsfeeds such as Facebook or Twitter, simply take the time to “like” it. If you really enjoyed the article, consider re-sharing on your own personal feed. If you really really like the artist and that particular review, then repost the original story link in other relevant Social Media forums such as the multitude of enthusiast groups on Facebook. I participate in many of these forums on Facebook where you’ll find my regular posts about music I’m listening to (and sometimes review links if group rules permit) including: YouTube Vinyl Community, Now Playing, Jazz Vinyl Lovers, Audiophiles North America, Avant Garage, MQA Audio Developments and many others…
I also post on my Instagram feed (where my handle is @Dynovoice) and Twitter (@Smotroff), employing creative use of hashtags (the # sign next to key words, used by many on those social media platforms for search enhancement). And while I haven’t gotten into Reddit, I do maintain a light presence on Pinterest where I archive links to all my online articles — my Pinterest pages are called “Music Is The Best,” click here for #1 and #2.
So, it’s up to you folks. We are doing our part to try to help keep the flames of Jazz alive (and other lesser known artists and non mainstream music genres including classical). Frankly, its not “just” Jazz that is the problem (my latest review of an Elvis Costello EP has gotten off to a very slow start!). The point is, you and the artists are part of this awareness process. In these days of algorithmically controlled news feeds we all need to do our part in spreading the word to help the stories rise above the clutter.
You, Dear Readers, should be proactively turning friends onto this great music that we all love and revere and review. Even for your friends who are not on social media, email them links to the reviews saying: “Hey, thought you might like this…” or a simple “check this out!”
Again to recount, here are some simple checklist items that shouldn’t take you more than a couple minutes to do:
— Remember to “like” a story posting on Social Media if you enjoyed the article…
— Re-share the story on your own personal news feeds and via email if you liked it…
— Repost the original story link in other relevant Social Media forums if you really like it a lot…
— Participate in enthusiast groups on Social Media spaces like Facebook.
I’ll close here with a quote from Yes’ Jon Anderson from a 1970 song of theirs called “Time & A Word” that has been resonating as I am writing this:
Spread the news and help the word go round.
There’s a time and the time is now
This is pure speculation but I think the word “Jazz” means different things to different people now, since Jazz has been “fused” with so many other genres of music. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just hit the genre “Jazz”, especially on Spotify and been rewarded with a bunch of stuff that I personally find unlistenable, Whereas if I search on an artist and then let the algorithm run, I get better results. But, again, that’s just a guess…
Interesting. This gets me thinking: perhaps the word “jazz” itself might be getting squashed by the social media algorithms?
I avoid streaming services and give money to a local NPR station. One of it’s programs is a real jazz show that can be streamed anytime you want from it’s website after it runs live.
I’m a huge fan of Prog, Rock, Jazz, and Classical music. I’ve literally reviewed thousands of titles from all genres — but with a heavy emphasis on Classical and Jazz — mostly from my ten-plus years as a staff writer at Audiophile Audition back in the day. I still get reviewer service from Naxos, Harmonia Mundi, and Sony Classical; I have a large-scale classical review project underway with Naxos that involves SACDs of the orchestral works of Copland on the Chandos label. In recent years, my shift has gone heavily towards equipment evaluation, but I still listen to tons of music across all genres.
When something online catches my eye regarding music that I’m passionate about — I feel compelled to comment! I just don’t understand how people seemingly just aren’t very engaged. Music is our religion!!
I agree with you Tom! I would think that fans of classical, jazz and opera — people who are usually super passionate about their music forms — would be viral no brainers. Instead, at least in my experience (and I underscore this as per the points in my article, this isn’t hard science here) those articles seem to generally lay dormant, continually not getting the same sort of traction my pop, rock and prog oriented pieces get. My Wes Montgomery piece is still stuck at 43 shares. One of the most important figures in jazz history and a game changer for guitar players globally and it just sits there even though I have shared and even reshared it a bunch of times. I don’t get it. https://audiophilereview.com/audiophile-news/wes-montgomerys-back-on-indiana-avenue-resonance-records-first-ever-release-the-carroll-decamp-recor.html
if you don’t get it, then read my post, above. it’s really quite simple – your observation only shows the number of fans, not level of engagement.
Me I tend towards free jazz (for lack of a better categorization), so the more mainstream stuff I might read about out of curiosity but that’s about as far as it goes. Standards and what not, got bored with them a long time ago (except maybe when a few certain artists give them a go).
facebook twitter etc no thanks.
I’ve not found that most of today’s jazz fans are all that interested in new releases, be they back catalog or new recordings. Of the many jazz fans and players I know, I can’t think of any of them ever talking about some new release. They focus on live shows, and they talk about who’s coming to what club in the next month or two. I would guess classical is mostly the same.
We also can’t assume the Jazz and Classical listeners are all audio enthusiasts, some just go about their business. The audio nuts tend to be more engaged. Depressing to be sure… And there are people who read but don’t share ( a lot of them.)
Well, most of the people I share my articles around to on Facebook aren’t necessarily audiophiles but they are in theory music fans…. but I don’t see much going on with sharing and resharing (my stuff or the reviews of others) in that realm… especially when it comes to music forms other than rock, pop and soul/hip hop…
Not much in the way of clubs around here, plus see my preferences above. Any more, I once in a while scan for some desirable old album finally getting a disc release, and maybe run into something here of interest, but pretty well saturated. Would more likely get excited about something musical I heard/saw in a movie nowadays.
(Also I do things like read old back issues of Home Theater magazine (currently reading Oct ’98), maybe run into something or other I may have missed back then. Get a kick out of your old stuff.)
Well, again that ties into the point… they need to be talking more about the things they love otherwise the algorithms will (seemingly) make them essentially invisible… they need to become interested…. for what its worth, I don’t see a lot of postings about Jazz or opera or classical performers on the many music groups I participate in over on Facebook….
When you start talking about Jazz, and the person responds with, “Oh, you mean like Kenny G?” You know there’s a problem. Yes… the single word covers way too much to be a talking point. I attend the Monterey Jazz Festival every year, and have for many years. Even there, Tim Jackson has started to broaden the offerings from those that were expected in the early years when Jimmy Lyons was the director (most of the participants then were his personal friends.)
I’m old enough to remember the full range of what was available in most of the years of the Festival, and am now having to be a lot more selective when I attend. I’ll admit to being a rather rigid “straight ahead” fan, and, fortunately, there are still plenty of performers who fit. I purchase, and listen to streaming where I can get what I like. It took almost two years of “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” on Pandora to get music that is consistent with what I like, and still offers something new relatively often.
I’ve been in the computer game since the ARPANET, and been through some “Flame Wars.” When “Social Media” became the “big thing”, I headed away immediately. I already know what to expect, and it has exceeded my expectations. Not for me. So… I only have personal contact as a means to reach out for my likes and dislikes for Jazz. Not too many that way, but what I’m going to do.
First of all, Yes, like Pink Floyd, Moody Blues, Genesis, Beatles, Zeppelin….are monster groups that have huge followings.
Also, a lot of jazz and classical fans are older, even though there are some fans of these genres that started young. And I would think not as many live and die on the computer as younger people do.
I think Classical and Jazz music will do just fine in the future.
My 20 year old daughter heard me listening to ‘Young Man With A Horn’, the sound track from 1950 with Les Browns Orchestra and Doris Day – she said,” keep playing that and music like it…I love it!”
That is the point of the article. Older fans need to get more engaged to spread the word more.. not just for my articles but anything related to the forms they like… classical, opera, avant garde, minimalism, etc. If they don’t start pushing it the internet seems to forget things… that said, glad your daughter is open minded and getting into other musics!
all your comparison shows is that there are a lot more “yes” fans than there are “wes montgomery” fans. i’d surmise the “level of engagement” is the same.
Not really. There are virtually no reshares of the Wes Montgomery album while the Yes fans (and fans of other groups like the Beatles, King Crimson and even Emitt Rhodes) spread the word around… Its is however probably a combination of issues with the algorithms favoring more popular names as well as non Jazz entities…. guessing here, of course… all speculative….
yes, really. there are virtually no reshares of the wes montgomery album because there are virtually no wes montgomery fans, when compared to the fans of the others you mention. you’re blatantly overlooking th obvious, which seems to me to be the main issue. “can’t see the forest through the trees” is the cliche that comes to mind…
guessing here of course, all speculative. but i will stick w/the speculative that seems to make the most sense. ;~)