Several readers and friends have expressed concerns about my idea of rewarding the musicians whose video performances I post on JAZZ LIVES.  And in the interest of what Andreas Kagedal calls “transparency,” here are a few clarifications.

They are not idly stated or chosen.  I understand that — even in the best economic times — asking people to part with any money is something serious.  And JAZZ LIVES is in the odd / intriguing position of public radio or television: I will keep doing what I’ve been doing even if the plan to recompense the musicians is not a success (in ways I can’t yet predict).

So here goes.

1.  I am not taking a cent of the money I collect — not for “administrative expenses,” not for a salary.  I am not asking readers to pay me for what I do.

2.  Rather than being a reward for the most popular band or “the best band on JAZZ LIVES,” which seems fraught with hurtful possibilities, I propose that my model is a profit-sharing scheme.  At the end of the year, I will tally up the videos I have posted of outstanding jazz performances — videos I have created myself (not YouTube clips from other sources).  I will divide the proceeds according to the frequency with which each musician appears.  (I believe that for this to be reasonably workable a player will have appeared with some regularity.)  A player who has been featured in twenty clips will get a larger percentage of the monies collected than a player who has appeared in one.  And although the math is potentially annoying, I think this system rewards the musicians rather than “bands,” which sometimes have fluctuating personnels.

3.  What does this mean in practice?  Let us assume that you have been moved by the videos I have been posting.  And let us also assume that if you were on the spot you would reach into your pocket and put some money in the tip jar.  The PayPal DONATE button is the way to send some tangible love to these gifted men and women even if you are far away.  It doesn’t have the same immediacy — but how many of us are willing to find out a musician’s home address and send her / him a check for the pleasure we have received?  Many of us would like to but find the lack of immediacy a drag . . . . I am trying to use cyberspace to accomplish what is (on one level) physically impossible — that you could BE THERE, watching and enjoying the sounds and the scene.  My hope is that the same machinery — mysterious and wonderful — that makes it possible for you to watch TIGER RAG or BODY AND SOUL even when time and space seem to make it unreal, will make it possible for viewers to give something back.

4.  Here’s the button!  Try it out . . . .


For the musicians, JAZZ LIVES thanks each of you in advance.

And tomorrow I would like to post some videos rather than discussing them!

Late-breaking news: it seems that the button above does not work when the blog comes through email . . . but it does work if you look for this entry or the preceding ones by visiting

5 responses to “TRANSPARENCY

  1. Not for one New York nanosecond did it occur to me that the idea of earning a profit out of the work you do ever entered your mind! I understand entirely your motives for asking readers to contribute – this is perhaps because I, myself, work entirely gratis towards sensitizing music lovers re the commercial plight of so many musicians and towards keeping live jazz and other great musical performances ALIVE. One problem may be that those of us who are reading your blogs are also commercially compromised and can’t afford to contribute – but I’m sure that many, on the other hand, will be able to do so.
    A heartfelt hug to you.

  2. Michael, that is a wonderful thought, reflective of the love you personally have for the music and its performers, but I wonder if the enormous amount of work entailed in the tabulation, dispersement, etc. would be worth doing unless the financial response is substantial. Every time you shoot and post a video of a band, it and the venue are–by default–beneficiaries. If they have music for sale out there, you could increase that benefit by pointing to it (and/or a pertinent site) with a link.

    My point is that what you are doing inherently benefits the performers as well as those of us who access your wonderful blog.

  3. Thank you for recognizing the effort involved in what I do and what I am attempting to do . . . more! Perhaps only people who labor in the blogosphere as you and I do have the sense of what it takes to, say, post 24 minutes of a previously unheard jam session with Clifford Brown . . . ? But I digress (happily). I think of the DONATE button as an experiment. The musicians have opened my heart, made me weep, made me want to dance around the room for a half-century now. I am hopeful that people who have had this same kind of cardiological renewal (painless and requiring no medical intervention) will feel that giving something back is a good idea. If the labor outweighs the rewards, I will reassess and reconsider after a time. I appreciate your enthusiasm, hard work, and understanding. Swing out! Michael

  4. Andreas Kågedal

    Good plan!
    It will still be a lot of work for you once a year, but for most of the time you can just do your normal thing. Great. And it makes it clear for donators what will happen with the money. This is a good thing, as it will make more people want to contribute.

  5. There is only one problem…what about those of us who want to donate, but don’t own a credit card?

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