Anecdotally, when I’ve heard people make these “valuable” comments, I’ve always been able to find at least one other musician who could sing the parts better. As I was doing this research, I realized that these comments are not just coming from a few dweebs. Several prominent jazzmen have said that once they’ve learned to play a standard they’ll be willing to do “anything” to get it. (There are many great examples of these comments in the recording of this album.) This doesn’t mean that a well-rehearsed standard is going to be worth nearly as much as a well-known one, but it does show that many musicians think that they can sell their music. What would you do to get an audience to pay you?
Another way the standard market is distorted is by the fact that it is often difficult to sell recordings once they’re out on the market. If the standard gets played by a lot of people, then perhaps it’ll be easy to get them to pay for it. However, if the standard is good and only rarely repeated, why bother? Why put yourself out there?
Another way that standard market distortions result are by the “selling out” theory. Since people do not know what they want when they purchase the new standard, there’s no incentive for them to find out what’s good. Since people can’t really get the new standard, the only thing they can do is to buy it, and thereby keep buying it, and so on, ad infinitum until the price ever increases. (See my book).
The reason that it’s difficult to sell these recordings is not that it takes time to get into the game – there’s something in the process we all know how to do. It’s that everyone in the market feels that he (she?) is in some way being given something valuable for nothing (or, as in my case, something they’ll want to pay for). This is a problem since it means that the market is only open to the people who, with their unique and unique knowledge, know exactly all the key notes and parts of the standard that they’d be willing to spend money on. In fact, the people who are best qualified for the job are those who are most familiar with the keys and most capable of reproducing the key notes. And because they’re so skilled, they’re most likely to be willing to pay for those copies. They’re the ones who will have the audience, and since