The Mosaic thread: news and opinions

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by J.A.W., Apr 26, 2017.

  1. J.A.W.

    J.A.W. Music Addict Thread Starter

    The Chick Webb/Ella Fitzgerald Decca, Woody Shaw Muse, Eddie Condon/Bud Freeman Commodore/Decca, and Rosemary Clooney CD-sets, and the Stan Getz 1953-1954 Norgran LP-set are running low, while the Earl Hines, Joe Pass, Henry Threadgill, and Oliver Nelson CD-sets are on the Last Chance list.

    Mosaic Records - Last Chance on Limited Edtion Sets
    SinnerSaint and Simon A like this.
  2. J.A.W.

    J.A.W. Music Addict Thread Starter

    I posted this in the Jazz Beat thread, but thought I'd also post it here.

    I've just been in contact with Mosaic's Scott Wenzel and he told me that they're in very bad shape. Their customer base is dying and, of course, downloading isn't helping - for those wondering why downloads aren't offered by Mosaic: no record company, big or small, is allowing them to offer downloads, the licensing agreements are for CD only. Jazz is a niche market and apparently younger people are not that interested, even less so because of that download situation. Let's hope this is not going to be end of Mosaic after 34 years...
  3. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    There's even a bit of vinyl for sale. I hope they survive and it won't be the end for them. :sigh:
    Sneaky Pete and Marzz like this.
  4. Malina

    Malina Forum Resident

    It's only a matter of time. Streaming is taking over. Apparently millennials are not as into owning stuff as prior generations and they don't have the money.

    Millennials don't care about owning anything, and it's destroying traditional retail

    "Battered by student loan debt and the Great Recession, Millennials place less emphasis on owning and more on sharing, bartering and trading to access coveted goods," Jilian Mincer of Reuters reports. ... Even owning the latest album of your favorite band feels a lot less appealing when you can stream it immediately on and offline with a Spotify pro membership, without taking up any space on your hard drive."

    Millennials don't care about owning anything, and it's destroying traditional retail

    What surprises me is how many more people want a 1 or 2 gig file instead of a higher quality 5 gig file, even hard drive space is important to save and it's pretty cheap these days.
  5. mpayan

    mpayan Forum Resident

    No. Im just getting into buying from them :(
  6. jdw

    jdw Forum Resident

    Hi Hans,
    A very sad situation might be unfolding. I say "might." And I hope not.
    True, of course. I will add that I believe the the flood of "public domain" CDs from Europe is causing even more damage to Mosaic and the other legitimate jazz reissue companies. Mosaic is trying to compete against European "labels" that often source their releases directly from Mosaic sets and then offer (for example) a public domain 5 CD set for something like $12.

    I wanted to point out to people here at the Hoffman forums that Mosaic's Scott Wenzel wants information about his company's current situation to get out to the public. Hans is not breaking a private confidence by discussing it. Hans (user name "J.A.W." at both the hoffman forums and the organissimo forums) confirms this directly in his most recent post [2017-04-26] at organissimo, and I believe him.
  7. Marzz

    Marzz Forum Resident

    I'm curious which PD (Public Domain) releases are offering Mosaic material? Not arguing with you, just that I haven't seen any.

    I had a conversation with a Classical Music & Jazz Retail store owner (long established) a few weeks ago. I made it clear that I'm NOT a fan of these PD releases of which now make up a substantial amount of his Jazz stock. His feeling is that the PD releases exist only because the majors won't release official versions. Simple as that. The reasons the majors won't release as much physical product is varied of course but the proliferation of Public Domain labels is not one of them. When CD sales were thriving down here, there was no PD releases to be found. Streaming and a general move away from physical product is much closer to the mark.

    Anyway, there's no PD releases of Classical Music and yet Classical Music sales still continue to languish (and not just physical stock, btw). Can't blame European PD labels there, can you?

    But Jazz (and Classical Music) have an even bigger problem. Though Mosaic is not a major label, as Hans (J.A.W.) mentioned in his initial post "Their customer base is dying". This is your problem, plain and simple. Same problem facing Classical Music. Let's be honest here. Mosaic's old clientele haven't suddenly begun buying up PD releases just because they're cheaper. Sorry, that's just incorrect.

    What has anyone done to get young people interested in this music? Imagine if an interest was sparked 34 years ago...think about it.

    I'm a big fan of Mosaic. I sincerley hope they survive.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2017
  8. Mr. H

    Mr. H Forum Resident

    Very sad news, if true. Some of thise Last Chance releases are recent releases, too. I cherish the work they've done in the past. One of the greatest reissue labels ever, as far as I'm concerned.
  9. Farmer Mike

    Farmer Mike Forum Resident

    Is Michael Cuscuna still active at Mosaic?
    bluejimbop likes this.
  10. brimuchmuze

    brimuchmuze Forum Resident

    To be honest, of the "last chance" material the only one I would be interested in is the Threadgill. But I already have it all on CD.

    I do own the Mosaic Braxton box, and if I had been on the ball would have picked up a few others when they were first released.

    If I were to think about what would interest me in the future, it would be something like an Ornette Coleman 70's/80's box, where a lot of material is out of print.
  11. dosjam

    dosjam Forum Resident

    Been meaning to order the Getz, Armstrong, and Mulligan sets so I just did. The Brownie box was supposed to be repressed but the blurb on the Mosaic site states they cannot afford to do it. Dire circumstances it appears. Get 'em while you can.
    bluejimbop and Mr. H like this.
  12. tolkev

    tolkev Rain Dog

    Boston, MA, USA
    I have a nice little collection of about a dozen of their sets. Even though money is tight for us these days, I just ordered The Complete Blue Note Hank Mobley Fifties Sessions. I've wanted it for a long time now, and after reading this thread I figured it's time again to support the good work they do at Mosaic.
    bluejimbop and Mr. H like this.
  13. kwadguy

    kwadguy Senior Member

    Cambridge, MA
    It isn't streaming, it's the craptastic public domain junk out of Europe. They make anything a label like Mosaic issues available for pennies, thereby diminishing the perceived value of the Mosaic sets (and of any legitimate issue).
  14. J.A.W.

    J.A.W. Music Addict Thread Starter

    Just to avoid any misunderstandings: as has been mentioned upthread Mosaic's Scott Wenzel has explicitly asked me to tell everyone I know they're in a bad shape. If he hadn't, I wouldn't have posted this.
    Simon A, Kkfan and Mr. H like this.
  15. J.A.W.

    J.A.W. Music Addict Thread Starter

    He is.
    ILovethebassclarinet and Kkfan like this.
  16. ShockControl

    ShockControl Bon Vivant and Raconteur!

    Lotus Land
    It was a nice ride while it lasted, but it is not sustainable, and everyone involved should have seen this coming.

    There are only so many listeners who want to pay top dollar for big, bulky presentations of long-ago-paid-for sessions by dead artists.

    The big question is what will happen to all the digital files after the last of the physical releases go to the trash heap.
    ribonucleic likes this.
  17. jay.dee

    jay.dee Forum Resident

    Barcelona, Spain
    I do not know the motivations of other jazz fans, but I buy public domain/grey area/bootleg releases principally because their music content is not offered by Mosaic or any other official label. And even in case of an overlap for select few artists, the current wide range of (easily available) unofficial live recordings has never prevented me from purchasing the officially released titles, like those by Davis or Coltrane.

    And as for the Mosaic itself, their chief disadvantage from my perspective is that I am not a completist and generally I am not interested in "complete recordings of X on label Y" (unless I am a big fan). My principal area of interest are archival live (re)releases, especially in postwar avant-garde/progressive styles. And in this domain "unofficial" labels excel while Mosaic's offer is unfortunately rather thin.

    I bought their Mingus and Threadgill boxes, would pick Braxton box and Tolliver select live set too (but both went out-of-print), and that's pretty much everything that has been of my interest.

    On top of that I am not fond of their packaging policy and aesthetics, which robs previously released music of the original album covers, crams/breaks material from various sessions into individual CDs to maximize space usage and then wraps everything in big "funerary" boxes. I do dig the sound quality and the content of their booklets a lot, but I really cannot think of a more unappealing design on the music market. Add to this their super premium price tag, relatively short window of availability and lack of "smaller bite" options, and I am hardly surprised that they could not reach beyond their core customer base.

    I would love to see a label like Mosaic thrive, but to bring jazz fans like me on board they would need to revise (some of) their policies.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017
  18. J.A.W.

    J.A.W. Music Addict Thread Starter

    The digital files are owned by the various record labels, not by Mosaic.
  19. J.A.W.

    J.A.W. Music Addict Thread Starter

    Mosaic would have to pay for using the original cover art, on top of the licensing fees they already have to pay, and they chose not to.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017
    ribonucleic likes this.
  20. ShockControl

    ShockControl Bon Vivant and Raconteur!

    Lotus Land
    But Mosaic mastered them, correct?

    Hopefully, the labels will just put everything out for downloading and streaming.
  21. hvbias

    hvbias Midrange magic

    The past two years were the fastest in history that B&M stores have been closing down. I am holding a long position on Amazon (and continue to buy) and Shopify, but generally this is not good for consumers.

    I have no attachment to physical media either, once it's ripped to my server as long as the mastering is good I am content. I only use streaming to discover new music. If a set is available from Mosaic I'll always buy from them first and I have repeatedly received nothing but the best customer service from them. There isn't a reissue company I'd want to see succeed more than Mosaic :(

    I wish they split up some of the larger sets into smaller ones; I passed on the Threadgill because I have no interest in the second half of the box set. As far as price goes, I guess I am looking at it from someone who has been buying audiophile vinyl for the last few years, Mosaic are a very good value in that regard and don't play pricing games like a bouncing stock market depending on how much inventory they have and get a chuckle when people call it a "labor of love", with Mosaic that really does seem to be the case. On the music side of things I've never experienced customer service as good as Mosaic's before.
  22. Johan1880

    Johan1880 Forum Resident

    The Netherlands
    Thanks, I ordered the Brown / Roach box from Elusive.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017
    TS582 likes this.
  23. TheIncredibleHoke

    TheIncredibleHoke Dachshund Dog Dad

    Brooklyn, NY
    I get so annoyed with these PD releases clogging up the new stock in most record stores. Even here at the Jazz Record Center there are tons of these cheap records - all ripped from CDs. I'm sure people buy them, but not me. I wait until Fred gets a big bolus of Analogue Productions, Music Matters, or Sam Records releases and then go in and buy them instead. I would rather pay 3 times more for the real thing.

    Very sad about Mosaic. Their box sets are stellar.
    Paully and Marzz like this.
  24. smitquest

    smitquest Forum Resident

    Lancaster, NY, USA
    here's hoping that these guys pull through--among the last of a dying breed.

    (and if some of the stuff listed as "backordered" suddenly becomes available, i'll be happy to throw some money at them...)

    melstapler likes this.
  25. hvbias

    hvbias Midrange magic

    Sadly PD does exist for classical and the mastering can be dreadful. Noise reduction, boosting the upper midrange then running it through some plugin that turns it into fake stereo- you'll get plenty of positive press from the classical sites about breathing new life into an old recording.
    ubertrout and J.A.W. like this.

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