How Aebersold Needs To Embrace Technology

A while ago, I wrote a post/rant about Aebersold pushing the Superscope Elevation software. Enough said about that. But I get these mailings from jazz about sales, and they are still pushing these Superscope CD things that are like $999. Insane.

It makes me wonder WHY Jazzbooks/Aebersold has not embraced the digital age yet. The writing has been on the wall for about 2 years now that print media is a dying business. As is the making of CDs. Aebersold is running the risk of becoming like Kodak.

So, how to change this? Here is what I would propose if I was in charge. First, offer digital versions of the catalog. The play-alongs, put them in Amazon and iTunes for $.99. When someone buys the them that way, they also get the lead sheet in C/Eb/Bb/Bass clef. Would I put them out as tomes like they are now? No. What I would do is fully embrace technology and develop an App that would allow purchases of new songs within it. So, if someone ends up buying 100 songs that Aebersold produces, then they will be within the app, easily searchable, indexed, etc. You could just display the Eb versions, or whatever. And allow annotations of the lead sheets (i.e. let people mark up the sheets if they want).

The App would also have a slowdown function, and the ability to loop sections. Heck, some of the FREE slowdown things on the iPhone/iPad do this already. The ability to change the pitch would also be included, as would the ability to record what you are playing and the ability to hear just what you did, or you with the track. And you can mix it when you are playing back. And send it to like Garageband if you wanted. Or get it out of the App. The annotations that you did you could send via email, or print, or make a PDF.

So, the base App would be free and include maybe a couple of freebee tracks to entice people. Then in-App purchases would be $.99 for a new song complete with Eb/Bb/C/Bass lead sheet.

Ok, that takes care of the legacy Play-Alongs, but what about all the books that they publish. I’m not sure how they would do as EPUBs like in the iBook store. They might do better as a Textbook created with iAuthor. I would think that most of these could be make into PDFs fairly easily. Regardless, they need to be digital. PDF would be great, EPUB if possible, or maybe even an App for each book (like Greg Fishman’s stuff). Though, I would think that if they went the App per book route, they could use the engine that the play-alongs use. Then everything would be all together and you don’t end up with 30 apps for everything.

I don’t know if Aebersold is planning this sort of thing, but they need to. All these sales emails has me concerned, and it just makes more sense. With the iPad continuing to be a huge hit……who wants to carry around huge books or Superscope devices when an iPad can all that and more….

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