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B.J. Jansen on Helping Artists Help Themselves

SOURCE: Published: 2010-06-28
B.J. Jansen B.J. Jansen accepts and welcomes the changes faced by the music industry. Rather than look at them as catastrophic, Jansen sees them as “kind of a revitalization."

“Everyone should stop complaining and try to become master of their own destiny!"

Music business acolytes say that kind of thing all the time, but Jansen, who has over a decade of experience as a baritone saxophonist, bandleader, producer, composer, arranger, and independent record label owner, has had first-hand experience in nearly all genres of music and all facets of the music business. Jansen holds an MBA in Music Management from the William Paterson University of New Jersey and a BA in Jazz Studies from the University of Louisville, School of Music. His latest venture, Pitch Artist Services, is aimed at helping musicians gain the skills and understanding they need to thrive in the changing music industry.

“It's not your typical consultancy kind of situation, where you're calling up a lawyer and the meter's running when you're on the phone. That's not really how we work," Mr. Jansen said of his new company. “At Pitch Artists Services we wanted to form a one-stop destination to empower artists to help themselves and nurture their growth with professional services. We're here to help everybody apply the new model."

From a rhetorical standpoint, a lot of this isn't new. Hip-hop artists, DJs, and dance music producers have all welcomed changes spurred by Internet. The surprise is that Jansen comes from, and wants to help, the jazz world.

“I don't know anything different," he explains. “I'm a jazz artist, and the jazz industry has always been mostly independent."

Jansen wants jazz players to embrace the business side of their careers as they do on the creative side. Throughout his career, he has seen many jazz artists, so focused on perfecting their craft, “just refuse to even observe what's happening in other music."

“I've been always a proponent of including music business classes in jazz education. There's no point to have all these jazz programs churning out these students and throwing them out on the street without any knowledge of the business," Jansen explains. “They end up having to quit playing."

Too often, Jansen says, artists will ignore, dismiss, or look down on what works for genres apart from their own. They also tend to think that caring about business makes one a second-rate artist, and he points out that this is not unique to the jazz world. “I think the closest to jazz players in that (mentality) are singer-songwriters."

These attitudes can impede career progress and prevent your music from getting heard.

“The business side of music really is not different whether you're looking at jazz or you're looking at pop. It's a thing of scale, and it's just different people to talk to, but it's all the same thing."

This is why Jansen believes his company and its services can work for all musicians. He also wants to help artists help themselves.

“It's more educational and spreading education than anything else," Jansen says. “We want to teach people to fish."


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This story appears courtesy of We All Make Music.
Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved.


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