It’s been said that every good business reinvents itself every five years. It’s an adaptation of Darwin’s theory.
In 1983, I conceived JAZZIZ by analyzing and pilfering the best attributes of certain existing media and combining them into one package. We certainly didn’t invent the jazz magazine or the CD, but like those marvelous BASF commercials of the time (“We don’t make the car, we make it more colorful”), we strived to make the products you buy better. JAZZIZ Collections Volume One was the first-ever multi-artist, multi-label magazine CD, available at record stores everywhere. Those retailers that roamed the earth then are now dinosaurs; through (natural) selection our environment and the way people consume music has changed.
At about the time of our first five-year itch, we hired a bunch of new writers, changed the logo and design of the magazine, and began regularly including a CD, which we called “JAZZIZ on Disc.” That last development spurred a new editorial section in the magazine dedicated to the Disc, and so began a more genetic combination of the two mediums. About five years later, Time-Warner learned of our hybrid-media approach and asked me to join their organization. I agreed and they turned JAZZIZ into a monthly with a CD in every issue. While the behemoth gave us worldwide visibility, we saw an ice age coming and decided to buy the magazine back to have the flexibility to adapt to environmental conditions ahead. By our 15th anniversary, the monthly magazine was a recognized jazz authority. Our design and even our marketing was being hackneyed by everyone, however, so it was again time to morph.
The arrival of the Internet spawned a gold rush of wannabe media moguls each taking their stab at the new medium. During that time I became heavily absorbed in the Web and even started an Internet company, learning from those who strived to be digitalmedia kingpins. I declined to be part of the first jazz music portal and passed on a deal with one of the moguls who originally took Rolling Stone online. Instead the scientist in me patiently collected data as I watched a new genus of media mature.
By our 20th year, despite ongoing research and still no epiphanies about how exactly we would exist in the Web world, I turned to a long-time work in progress and broke ground on the first JAZZIZ Bistro. Unlike jazz clubs of the past, this one made sure that comfort, sound, lighting and food were not afterthoughts, but integrated into a package that was wired for the future.
There’s no better time than now, during our 25th anniversary, to reinvent JAZZIZ again. Considering all the economic and technological changes in the world — and the various means by which we acquire music and information — I saw the need to recombine our DNA and the way we provide news and stories about jazz. I’ve listened carefully to subscribers who say they want more JAZZIZ CD collections and fresh ways to bring them even closer to the music and the artists.
I hope you enjoy the new and improved species of JAZZIZ. Your subscription now gives you access to a wide range of online content, some of which we’ll gladly send directly to your inbox. Of course you’ll also continue to receive our print magazine, which will now be published quarterly, with each issue having more pages and two CDs. Log onto our website (www.jazziz.com) for more details, and while you’re there, check out our virtual magazine that brings these printed pages to life, with videos and music downloads (and a even place to write your own reviews). It’s JAZZIZ like never before.
Thanks for listening.
PHOTO: JAZZIZ Publishers Zakiya and Michael Fagien