What the BlueNote Jazz Cruise Taught Me About Writing on Medium

RJ Carr
4 min readJan 26, 2023

There are three types of experiences produced and chartered by Jazz Cruises LLC on Celebrity Cruise Lines, the Blue Note is one. Embarking on it gives a music lover a chance to hear jazz about eighteen hours a day from bow to stern while traveling through the Caribbean. The audience and the talent are all international. Hosted by Marcus Miller and featuring great stars from David Sanborn to Chris Botti and every type of serious Jazz in between.

One of the greatest offerings of the cruise is where these great musicians talk about their personal and professional development. Interviewers include Don Was who is head of Blue Note, Saxophonist David Sanborn who hosted his own late-night music interview program on NBC decades earlier, Christian McBride and Marcus Miller who also host their own programs on SiriusXM’s Real Jazz and, of course, Mark Ruffin also a host on the same channel.

Gerald Clayton, a pianist, talked about his work and, as is a theme of all musicians, how much streaming music affected their income.

Streaming Music Changed the Industry

Streaming music changed the industry radically and now many people listen to their favorite artists’ tunes digitized through the internet. One popular site is Spotify® which hosts Joe Rogan a podcaster who holds a $200 million contract with the streaming site. So, one would think that this is the place to make money through your music. Six-time Grammy® Award Nominated Gerald Clayton explained that he receives monthly royalty checks of maybe 10 cents and explained that Spotify has cut up the penny so that one listen garners an artist maybe a quarter of a cent.

Some time ago, I spoke with one of the top rock drummers in the world and he explained that he has to tour regularly because streaming music changed the way artists receive compensation in the music industry. I remember back in the days long before the internet changed everything, Steely Dan announced they would no longer tour. They did not have to because their income came from record sales which back then was solely vinyl records, cassettes and, yes, eight tracks.

No artist can do this today.

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