What is a Table Project?
What is a table project?
This perennial question resurfaced in the comment section of last Friday’s five-star review of the latest from the Mark Trammell Quartet, Treasures.
Historically, the term “table project” was used in our genre of a project only available on the artist’s product table, after concerts. These projects typically consisted of hymns, classics, and songs previously recorded by other groups. There were exceptions; there were some major releases of classics projects, and some projects of new songs only available on an artist’s table. But there is probably 90%+ overlap between the two groups.
Until recently, when someone would ask this question, the choices were pretty straightforward—a project was termed a “table project” either due to (lack of) distribution or due to song selection.
The digital era has changed the distribution part of the equation. There are fewer physical retail locations than five years ago, and digital retail locations like iTunes, Amazon MP3, and eMusic are an increasingly higher percentage of the retail pie. Thanks to services like CD Baby, many artists today do make classics projects available for digital sale.
Perhaps the time has come to re-define table projects. Now that many of these projects are available digitally, fewer table projects are only available on the artist’s table. Perhaps we should tip our hats to the term’s origin, but move on to defining it today by the song-selection aspect?
“A table project is a project consisting primarily or exclusively of hymns, classics, and songs previously recorded by other groups.”
Or do you have a better definition?