Jazz Wraps Its Arms Around the World on Jazz de Ville Radio

Jazz de Ville logo

Based in Rotterdam and streamed around the globe is an outstanding new four-channel music site that gives you freedom of choice. Jazz de Ville is headed by multi-talented DJ Maestro who did some hard-core sleuthing into the Blue Note catalogue in the early 2000s and mixed several acclaimed compilations for them.

Spin the dial to “Jazz” and you can get a classic gypsy jazz gem from Django Reinhardt, followed by the sweet Billie Holiday on “Forget if You Can” and a swinging “George’s Dilemma” with Clifford Brown and Max Roach. The site, which streams clear and beautiful, offers music news and events for all markets.

When and why did you start up Jazz de Ville?

From the late nineties on I worked for several national jazz radio stations. A couple of years ago, I decided to start my own station in order to broadcast the music I thought deserved to be heard.

Half a year ago, I met my new business partners who have a background in advertising, and we decided to change the name from Jazzradio.nl to Jazz de Ville, a name that stands more for who we are and that will help to reach a bigger audience.

What countries have the most listeners?

Most come from the Netherlands, as we are based in Rotterdam. That’s about 30%. The countries where some serious listener groups come from are Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, USA and Japan. We’re focused on becoming an international platform that has to do with everything that involves jazz. Under our new name, we’re broadcasting now for two months.

Listener numbers are rising and we are busy with further developing our website. 

Where do you source your jazz from? How do artists add their songs to your service?

It started with my own record collection. There are even some tracks in the playlist that I digitalized myself. Being a club/festival DJ as well, I am on a lot of record company mailing lists, and more musicians are sending us their stuff.

It takes a lot of time to listen to all the new material. I try to filter the best music possible for our four playlists. We play mostly cool, hard bop and big band. No free jazz and no Dixieland. Our playlists range from the 50’s til now. Also, I try not play smooth jazz. I know a lot of people like this, but for me it doesn’t feel real.

What is the biggest demand on your site?

Of our four streams, the Jazz and Groove playlists are most popular, while the Chill stream is maybe less popular but has an average listening time of six hours.

The Dance stream doesn’t get the attention yet that I expected, so I will have a closer look at that. Maybe it’s too far from the jazz spectrum. 

What is your background as a DJ?

I started DJing in the late 80’s. I have very broad tastes in music. I started in disco, but within a couple of years I developed a special interest in funk, jazz, hip-hop and Latin. During that time I also got interested in African music.

As a kid I played the violin, but the classical music world didn’t attract me. I much more like the freedom in music and the nightlife. 

Jazz de Ville DJ Maestro on albums

Do you remember when you fell in love with jazz?

That happened when I started to play hip-hop and began to investigate the samples that were used by hip-hop artists. It turned out that a lot of samples came from jazz. For example, by checking the UMC’s [American hip-hop duo] I got into a track of trumpet player Blue Mitchell. Also, I found some jazz in my father’s collection. Not a lot, but interesting enough to start digging deeper.

There were two turning points that really got me into Jazz. My job at the Dutch station Jazz Radio and getting involved a couple of years later with Blue Note Records. 

What is the “Blue Note Trip” compilation and how did you get this production award?

In 2002 I was asked by Blue Note Records Holland to start a mix compilation series. There were eight double albums which brought the best from the Blue Note catalogue and they got huge recognition and sales all over the world.

Although they were never officially released in the US, we had some serious sales as imports through Amazon.

You have an amazing array of events and news on your site. How do you get your news feed?

I subscribe to a lot of mailing lists. So I’m well aware of all the jazz stuff happening in the world. 

We offer this information in order to get our listeners on the right track for the most interesting festivals around the world, with a special emphasis on the Dutch jazz scene. On some of those events I DJ myself.

What is the subscription model – cost, etc.?

Our streams are free. We earn our money with background ads. With services like Pandora or Spotify, people don’t want to listen anymore to big blocks of spoken advertisements. Besides that, we offer our knowledge of events. 

How do you stay ahead of the market?

Don’t know yet. We just started, but the beginning is promising. We try to broadcast with a lot of love for jazz and hope our listeners will feel this as well. 

What is the biggest challenge to streaming radio?

Our next step is to investigate a fifth stream with live recordings and presentations. I think this will help our brand get more recognition. 

What is the most important thing people should know about Jazz de Ville?

We love jazz!

For more information, visit www.jazzdeville.com.

Photos courtesy of and with permission of Martijn Barkhuis/Jazz De Ville.
© Debbie Burke 2018

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