With Jazz and Coffee, All Things Are Possible
Welcome to @jazzandcoffee on SubStack
“No such thing as spare time, no such thing as free time, no such thing as down time. All you got is life time. Go.” —Henry Rollins
It’s Go time.
The recommended protocol is creating a video to woo my Instagram followers to SubStack. It didn’t go well. At all. With make-up, edits, and CGI, I level up to midlife crisis Max Headroom, but the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. Reading something I’ve written on video just doesn’t translate, so I reverse-engineered the video script into my first SubStack post instead.
What I planned to say in that video, first and foremost, was an overdue thank you. Instagram Jazz and Coffee is now 7 years old, and I am so grateful for every follower, every like, and every comment. I’m especially thrilled when anyone takes the time to leave a message that a record I’ve posted has really connected with you—that makes my day. You’re the best group of vinyl-spinnin’, jazz-lovin,’ opinion-sharin’ pals I could ask for. Thank you VERY, very much.
So I hope you’re as excited as I am about a long-considered expansion of Jazz and Coffee into SubStack—a platform for writers that offers newsletter and web publishing capability, different subscription options, and the ability to leverage written, visual, audio, and graphic content in creative, compelling ways. The more I’ve mucked around with it, the more I like it, and I hope you’ll consider joining me as I see what’s possible.
Now, please note I used the word EXPANSION a moment ago—I have no intent of closing shop on Instagram. SubStack will augment the Instagram experience, not replace it. I like the dual discipline of a daily (or near-daily) tight bit of writing for Instagram. But you have NO idea how much I often leave on the cutting room floor, which I find quite frustrating, and that won’t be an issue on SubStack.
I also want to acknowledge that I've had requests going back YEARS from family, friends, and colleagues to read Jazz and Coffee on a platform OTHER than Instagram. Some don't want to join ANY social media platform or don't like Instagram, and others just want to get an email or read on a website. Once again, SubStack is to the rescue, as I'll be cross-posting there and with enhancements! SubStack has far more flexibility in formatting, doesn't restrict the length of a post, and I can choose to embed audio, video, or additional graphics where they fit best within the narrative flow.
There are also a few inconvenient truths about how I’ve been using Instagram. Social media marketing was a big part of my job at Sony Music and EMI. But experience combined with optimization knowledge only goes so far when trying to squeeze a square peg in a round hole. Instagram is predominantly a visual platform, yet I prioritize my writing over my photos. I’ve done my best with my admittedly limited photographic skills, but I cannot hold a candle to some of the beautiful photography that my fellow Instagrammers are doing. I’m also in perpetual awe of the jazz and vinyl YouTube community which has a lot of crossover here—but this is also not my lane. I’m a writer. The most important person who ever could have told me that said so just a little while ago.
There are also truths about the Instagram platform that have moved from quirk to irritant to productivity roadblock. There's the black box of the algorithm that seems to deliver posts from 2 months back to 2 minutes ago without rhyme or reason that I can decipher. Music is randomly and rapidly disappearing from the IG music library to attach to IG Stories. The signal-to-noise ratio is worsening, and I'm spending more time developing workarounds for the platform's foibles than writing
Then there's a big truth about social media, in general, that's not new but that I'm feeling more keenly now than ever before. From discussions I'm having with many others, I'm not alone. I saw someone interviewed the other day who described the current state of algorithmically driven social networks as "a race to the bottom of the brain stem." These platforms have determined that it's financially successful to hook users on a cycle of outrage, where any person can self-select/sort into an echo chamber of their own creation that will magically transform firmly held, often emotionally-based opinions into objective facts as the platform reinforces them with alarming frequency. The resulting tribalism has eroded the civility that the early Internet and our entire culture pre-Internet was built upon. And now, here we are, at the intersection of greed, poor choices, and a confluence of circumstances, demonizing those with whom we disagree. Fighting for attention amidst all that to tell you about that great jazz record takes time and effort. Time and effort beyond the time and effort I'm already putting into telling you about the great jazz record. So, the balance feels out of whack. And to restore order to the universe, I wanted a counterweight. And I can create it here.
My first long-form piece is ready, and I had such fun putting it together. I've got about a dozen others in varying stages of completion. A couple of third parties are inquiring about how they might participate, and some cool ideas are percolating already. I don't want to commit TOO early about how Jazz and Coffee on SubStack may evolve because I've spent my entire career in one part of the music business or another, essentially building a plane while flying it. That's how I prefer to work, and I produce the best results. I hope you'll consider giving the Jazz and Coffee SubStack a try by subscribing, and I'd appreciate you telling a friend or two or ten about it (look for the Share buttons, and please use them often). There are free, paid, and founder tiers—something for everybody, and nobody is left behind—and from now through the end of the year, if you've got a valid .edu address (student or teacher), a one-year paid subscription is on me with this link, so long as you promise to either do your homework, or not assign too much of it.
That’s all for this morning—lots more to come, so I’ll be seeing you on Instagram or on SubStack. Subscribe now, and tell a friend!
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