Jazz Research Journal, Vol 1, No 2 (2007)

The parallax of art and commerce: UK jazz musicians on marketing

Michael James Macaulay
Issued Date: 29 Mar 2008


This article adds to art versus commerce debate by introducing the thoughts of eight professional jazz musicians. Our article suggests that other studies of marketing in music are flawed either methodologically (e.g. Kubacki and Croft, 2004) or, more crucially, conceptually (e.g. Holbrook, 2005). We feel that too many discussions have misconceived of the debate by positing art and commerce at opposite ends of a spectrum, allowing for some degree of (theoretical or actual) concord in between. As such musicians are classified as artists, who “sell out” to commerce, or else mere commercial players who have no business calling themselves artists. We argue that the debate of art versus commerce is misconceived: it is not a spectrum but rather a parallax, a space between opposites that cannot be bridged and remains forever apart. The parallax shift is therefore one of perspective, which enables two opposites to co-exist without meeting in the middle. This paper therefore offers fresh insight into current problems identified in arts marketing theory by outlining the thoughts of leading artists themselves. In addition, the paper argues that marketing is an extremely important tool to ensure a sustainable UK jazz scene.

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DOI: 10.1558/jazz.v1i2.225


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