DETROIT — New technology helped JazzPlanet.tv bring the sights and sounds of the 32nd Annual Detroit Jazz Festival to more than one million music lovers in 175 countries this past Labor Day weekend, an increase of almost 500,000 site visitors over last year’s numbers.
Sheldon Nueman, CEO of Joseph Productions Inc. and founder of PlanetNetworks.tv, the home of JazzPlanet.tv, credited the increase in numbers to new cell phone technology that allowed anyone with a smart phone to access the Web site from anywhere in the world. In total, more than 1.1 million jazz fans visited JazzPlanet.tv this year.
“JazzPlanet.tv made a successful debut at the 2010 Detroit Jazz Festival with an audience of 700,000 that year,” said Nueman. “However, access to the site was limited to only those individuals with desktop or laptop computers. This year’s numbers certainly reflect that smart phone technology opened up JazzPlanet.tv to not only a global audience, but a mobile one as well.”
JazzPlanet.tv is an interactive Web experience that streams live and taped performances, news flashes, interviews and behind-the-scenes commentary. The mission of JazzPlanet.tv is to showcase Detroit as an important center for American music, to provide a unique platform for musicians to connect to the world and to reacquaint the mainstream with jazz through social media.
In partnership with PlanetNetworks.tv, Livestream.com and Detroit Public Television, the JazzPlanet.tv stage at Hart Plaza streamed via the web what is cool about the Detroit Jazz Festival and the city, in real time. Users around the globe — artists as well as fans — could tweet and Facebook messages to fans, artists and media hosts in Detroit through JazzPlanet.tv, detroitjazzfest.com and the social media networks of Detroit Jazz Festival and JazzPlanet.tv.
This year, JazzPlanet.tv featured a larger, more prominently located stage on Hart Plaza, with seating for a live studio audience. Fan favorites of JazzPlanet.tv this year were “Planet Afterhours” in which viewers enjoyed a “virtual hang” with world-renowned musicians and “JazzPlanet University” which focused on jazz education and provided viewers with fascinating insight from musicians on what they love about jazz, how they learned it and how they use the music to connect with audiences.
Another highlight was the first-ever live video stream of the infamous DownBeat Blindfold Test, which was hosted by DownBeat Magazine correspondent Dan Ouellette. The show put 2011 Detroit Jazz Festival artist in residence Jeff “Tain” Watts in the hot seat and challenged him to identify and discuss the music and musicians on selected recordings.
Nueman hopes to build upon the success of this year’s JazzPlanet.tv.
“In terms of what is next, we look forward to the 2012 event and bringing the Detroit Jazz Festival to even more jazz lovers throughout the world,” said Nueman. “We also would like to take the live streaming concept even further and expand our presence into other industries and at events that could benefit from this technology.”
According to Terri Pontremoli, festival artistic and executive director, event organizers were pleased with the turnout from this year’s event and proud that despite some severe weather that weekend, fans had a safe and enjoyable experience. The theme, “We Bring You the World,” honored the global melting pot in jazz and showcased cross-cultural influences and artists from Japan, Benin, Cuba, Israel, Brazil and the Netherlands, as well as from the United States. Artists included Dianne Reeves, Angelique Kidjo, Regina Carter, Gary Burton, Kevin Eubanks, Chuck Jackson, Dave Holland, Ivan Lins, Paquito D’Rivera, Luciana Souza, Karriem Riggins Ensemble with Common and more. For a complete listing of artists, visit www.detroitjazzfest.com.
Visit http://www.jazzplanet.tv to see some of the programming from this year’s event.