Monday, September 10, 2007

Pushing Plastic

So Columbia has launched yet another Miles Davis marketing campaign. Surely someone could do a PhD on the various MD marketing campaigns from start to the current day. This new-ish one is peculiar in a lot of ways.

The insert included with both Miles Smiles and Round About Midnight yells: The Top-10 Must Have CDs of Miles Davis.

In a little box underneath: "Miles Davis recorded many masterpieces aside from Kind of Blue. Explore his rich, diverse musical world with the following CDs. (In alphabetical order.)"

A Tribute to Jack Johnson
Bitches Brew
In A Silent Way
In Person- Friday and Saturday Nights at the Blackhawk
Kind of Blue
Miles in the Sky
Miles Smiles
On The Corner
Round About Midnight
Sketches of Spain

This list is (like many lists) fascinating to examine. There's a lot of ways to take it apart, but I'm particularly interested in the marketing angle itself. 6 of the 10, surprisingly to me, were released from '67 to '72. It seems wild to me that On The Corner is included, surely a recording that can still give Kind of Blue fans serious indigestion. I'm personally pleased that so much of this late MD, pre-retirement, is being sold. To whom though? What's the target demographic?

Here's the blurb for On The Corner:

"Having turned around the jazz world and cracked the realm of progressive rock with such benchmark fusion albums as In A Silent Way and, especially, Bitches Brew, Miles Davis went for broke with On The Corner, perhaps the nastiest, streetiest (sic), most in your face "jazz" album of all time. Influenced by Sly Stone, James Brown as well as certain aspects of Indian music and the revolutionary modern classical composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, On The Corner remains a love-it-or-hate-it proposition. But there's no denying the raw power of its clattering, world-party grooves."

Is this high praise? It's funny, in my opinion. Love the neologism "streetiest."

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