07 December 2012

Aebersold Goes Digital (and I missed it?)

It seems that Jamey Aebersold has finally made his (in)famous Play-Along recordings available digitally and by the track. If anyone else still does eMusic, this link will deliver you to the promised land; iTunes has them as well, though it itself remains an evil place.

Once upon a time in a past life and far away land, where digital distribution remained a novelty and I trolled the JA online forum with a regularity I'd rather not admit, this was a near-constant topic of discussion, or at least remark; equally constant, at that time at least, was JA's insistence that digital was untenable for them for one reason or another. (Licensing is the obvious one, but I also think people my parents' age simply weren't ready to give in yet regardless of the other considerations.) I can't tell for sure when they took the plunge, but it looks to have been earlier this year. Many albums on both eMusic and iTunes bear what I suspect to be their original release dates, not their digital ones, but true to form, it's clearly not consistent either way, and suddenly the luddites' fears seem less irrational than they did ten years ago. In any case, whether this all just happened or it happened years ago and I missed it, they did wait an awfully long time to do this as it was clear even back then that digital was the wave of the future. I'm not sure if the lack of a digital presence explains why some of the younger jazz students at CalArts have never heard of Mr. Aebersold, or if there's something else going on, but in any case, someone or other has kept him in business long enough to finally make the leap.

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