Thursday, June 15, 2006

Third-Shift Workers, Insomniacs Love Smooth Jazz

CD sales have fallen precipitously over the last few years, which the label community is keenly aware of. Dwindling sales are a vital concern to smooth jazz, which has suffered the loss of numerous labels -- A440 and others, including the majors. Weak sales drove one major, Warner Bros., to close its Jazz department entirely and another, Verve, to abandon smooth jazz, with the notable exception of Brian Culbertson and Mindi Abair. (Paul Brown was dropped the same week his track "Winelight" was in its ninth week at No. 1.)

On the other hand, independents -- Rendezvous, Heads Up, Shanachie, Artizen, among others -- are doing pretty well with SJ, although their challenge to implement effective marketing strategies to overcome obstacles to sales -- tight playlists, for example -- grows more urgent by the day. These and other record execs might do well to consider this remarkable development: QVC viewers bought $62,000 worth of smooth jazz CDs -- at 4am ET, no less! Fans across America called to order latest releases from SJ listener favorites, including Euge Groove, Down To The Bone, Jeff Lorber, Jason Miles and others.

The $62,000 in SJ CD sales revenues were generated on the most recent edition of the shopping channel's program The Groove Boutique With Rafe Gomez. Indefatigable United Stations Radio Networks' syndicated Smooth Jazz mix show The Groove Boutique host Gomez will to return to the QVC airwaves soon, where he will be seen during non-insomniac hours. Imagine how many smooth jazz CDs he'll sell in a reasonable daypart.

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