The typical jazz album, of course, sells fewer than 5,000 copies, and 20,000 is considered a big success, far lower expectations than for a pop album. At the same time, production costs are also much lower, with a two-day jazz recording session and follow-up production costing roughly $30,000.
The relative marketing costs for a jazz album mirror those of a pop album -- about 15 percent of sales. These days, however, jazz can be used to sell non-jazz albums.
"Jazz is being used as a marketing term," said Adam Sieff, Sony Music's director of jazz for UK and Europe. "An awful lot of records that aren't really jazz records are being called that because it's an opportunity to have a loose association with something that's become slightly hip again."