“New technologies will help artists get paid better”: interview with DJ Maestro

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You’re a multi-platinum awarded jazz musician with your Blue Note Trip series. How did that come about, and how did your love for jazz start?


“My love for jazz started in my early twenties. It got a boost when I got a job at national jazz radio station Jazzradio.nl. Within a couple of days, my internship was transformed into a regular job. With no knowledge of radio at all and just a bit of jazz, I managed to raise the number of listeners very quick. Then, a couple of years later, I was asked by the Dutch department of Blue Note records to start a compilation series. The rest is kind of history.”


You’re also a prominent DJ in the jazz scene. North Sea Jazz Festival has just finished and Rotterdam was buzzing with music, how’s your experience of the jazz scene from a performer and music lover perspective?


“The Blue Note Trip series gave me a lot of recognition in the scene. Got a job at Arrow Jazz FM, got involved with several jazz festivals as program director and was touring with some of the most well known Dutch jazz musicians. It’s a bit strange, but the leading musicians from that time are still the most successful ones. It would be nice if more young musicians would have a breakthrough.”


You’re also a radio show host and music curator at Jazz De Ville. How did that idea come about? Is radio still a relevant medium for jazz?


“My last regular job was being the program director at Sublime FM. The station changed a lot over the past years. Hardly any jazz to be listened there. So I decided to quit and started my own online jazz radio station. Radio is still very relevant alongside Youtube, streaming services and the traditional FM stations. But figures show that online radio is still growing and of course good jazz should be available there as well.”


What has it been your secret to breakthrough the difficult and niche world of jazz? A lot of hard work or being in the right place at the right time?


“I think it’s a combination. I think I was the right person at the right time. The fact that I’m still in the business after 20 years is mostly because I work hard. It’s easy to get the first chance, but then you have to show it. Year in, year out.”


How many years did it take you to make your music career your primary source of income?


“I started djing at 15. Studied for a while. But never had to have other jobs then music related ones. I feel very lucky!”


Streaming platforms are taking over the market share in terms of users. If you had to bet, would you bet on the music industry thriving or imploding in the next 5 years?


“I can’t say. Already 20 years ago people predicted DAB would take over traditional radio. But FM is still very strong. DAB won’t make it. Mobile devices will take over completely, but I can’t say when that will be.”


Why do you think vinyl sales have been soaring of late? Is this fans seeking a more physical connection to an artist and their music, and better sound quality, dissatisfied with viewing all their music as a line on a playlist?


“Vinyl grew a bit. But not in that huge numbers journalists tell you so. The good thing is that young people get aware more of the artists. It feels more real than a download. And yes, nothing beats a good old crack!”


You and your business partner Korstiaan have been interested in innovative technologies to solve some of the biggest problems in the industry. Where do you see technology helping solve the problems musicians face?


“Being an artist as well, I saw my income from record sales decline a lot, while people still listen to the same amount of music. I hope that new technologies will help artists get paid better, especially those musicians that just make music and don’t go on stage.”


A partnership between Volareo and JazzdeVille has been just announced. Where do you hope this could go?


“It’s fairly new to me, but I hope that young jazz musicians will find their way to Volareo and that we from Jazz de Ville can guide them in a successful career.”


The blockchain is the new world of the tech world. Do you think that having a decentralised and transparent contract between musicians and record label is important nowadays?


“I hope so!”


If you had a quote you should remind your future self, what would it be?


“Work hard and have a lot of fun!”


Wonder what Volareo is? Check this link to know more.

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