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US Label Cuneiform stops all new releases for 2018

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    Posted: 05 Jan 2018 at 8:56am
Sad news from America with the announcement that Cuneiform Records, one of the most innovative of record labels is to stop releasing new CDs for 2018.

Today's press release states:

"For 2018, Steve (Feigenbaum, the brains behind Cuneiform, in charge of A&R, [..] overseeing all business and legal matters, including sales, distribution, manufacture, licensing for media and more) will take a year sabbatical to determine what direction the label could or should take to be viable again in the future. 

Because sales of recorded music in every format - digital, cd, lps - have dramatically declined for everyone in the music industry, it is no longer feasible for us to run a record label in the same manner as we have for the past 35 years. For Cuneiform, 2018 will be a year to rethink, retool and evolve the label. During his sabbatical, Steve will continue to maintain Cuneiformís catalogue, oversee digital and physical album sales, pay twice-yearly artist royalties, oversee licensing and other legal matters, and keep Cuneiform Recordís official website updated, including updating the Tour page for concerts. But, while Cuneiform released an average of 15 albums a year for more than three decades, no new releases are currently scheduled."

Cuneiform has been one of the very few labels to treat European Jazz seriously with 2017 seeing new CDs from artists including the excellent bands Schnellertollermeir and Raoul BjŲrkenheim.

From the USA 2017 also saw their first-ever Downbeat Album of the Year Award for Wadada Leo Smithís Americaís National Parks. Cuneiform had also released his epic Ten Freedom Summers

For nearly 35 years Cuneiform have survived as an independent small business in the shadow of Washington DC, paying proper royalties, a fair hourly wage and health insurance to its employees, taxes to local and federal government, and rent to its landlord, all while commercially releasing, distributing and selling avant-garde art music internationally. 

But as we all know, sales of recorded music in every format have dramatically declined for everyone in the music industry, and they have sadly concluded that it is no longer feasible for them to continue in the same fashion. 

Cuneiform's catalogue includes lots of recent and archival gems, many of them of particular interest to UK readers including recordings by EmpiricalLed Bib, Soft Machine, Nucleus, Chris McGregorís Brotherhood of Breath, John SurmanMichael Gibbs, Mujician, Elton Dean, and Paul Dunmall

Lets hope that they can come up with a formula and a business model that allows them to restart the business and to start issuing new music again. 

Peter Slavid produces a programme of innovative European Jazz on mixcloud.com/ukjazz and thejazz.co.uk

from  www.londonjazznews.com 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote js Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jan 2018 at 10:10am
You can blame all the people who steal music through digital formats for this sad outcome. You can also blame those same people for sky-rocketing concert ticket prices. Thanks to digital thieves, its getting harder and harder for a musician to make a living anymore.
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