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Take Five With...

Take Five With Peter Dragotta

By Published: September 21, 2010
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? Live local jazz in cities like New York has become a nightmare on so many levels. Not enough venues to play, the venues that do book only want straight ahead music, too many musicians, and not enough local community support. I think musicians have to become more creative where they can play. I think jazz musicians have to become better marketers and planners. They have to organize themselves, create packages to sell (trios, quartets, etc. styles of jazz, etc...) Learn how to build an audience base.

My friends' band, Wake Up, recently played a gig in a boxing gym. They are playing in a bowling ally tonight. Outside-of-the-box thinking is where it is at if you want to make a living making music.

As for online bedroom produced jazz as I call it, there is a lot of good music and musicians out there. The compensation model on the sites that host your music are not very good for daily plays, but it is exposure and if you are also a performing musician it could help in building an audience that follows you around.

Another way you can make money with online music is if you align yourself with a site/company that also licenses your music. Again, you are in a giant pool, but if your music is picked by a film producer or ad agency you can make some nice change. I've been lucky a few times but in no way am I making my living with just my music.

What is in the near future? I just released an unplanned album called Mobile Music Diversions, under the pharmacopia name. It started off as a test project of my rebuilt home studio in my new apartment. It's a set of solo improvisations, using music apps on two iPhones and an iPad, along with my EWI.

My next planned album (hopefully by the end of this year) is the latest incarnation on my improvising program built on the ArtWonk platform. I've been performing again with various improv-based groups since I moved to New York City, in 2008. I've been studying the dynamics of how musicians listen and respond to each other. I've developed new algorithms that do a great job of interplaying with each other and responding to my instrument. My plan in the coming months is to record with additional acoustic and electro-acoustic musicians. Right now, I'm working out the bugs of audio-to-midi converters.

Photo Credit

Courtesy of Peter Dragotta

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