Squared-away Karaoke CEO Started Out Punk

Joseph Vangieri’s experiences as a drummer in NYC punk and new-wave bands helped prep him to serve as the CEO of DigiTrax Entertainment, create KaraokeCloud.com, lead that company to the forefront of its industry, and blaze new trails in the tech space.

Joe Vangieri in his new-wave days with The Abstracts, in the early 1980's

Joe Vangieri in his new-wave days with The Abstracts, in the early 1980’s.

DigiTrax Entertainment’s CEO Joseph Vangieri, who has led the company into a position at the forefront of the karaoke market and innovated throughout the industry, got his start in music as a drummer for punk and new-wave bands in New York City. It may have been the perfect place to start.

Vangieri has served as CEO for DigiTrax for the past two years, and under his leadership the company launched their flagship product, KaraokeCloud.com, and grew to become the industry leader of legal streaming and downloadable karaoke tracks for professional and consumer use.

The courage to take risks on trail-blazing technology, and a deep understanding of what performers want to accomplish from covering other songwriters’ tunes are both instincts he developed in his formative years, cutting his music industry teeth on the mean streets of NYC.

“We would hear about parties and just set up and play,” Vangieri said of his bands’ drive to perform anywhere, anytime. Initially the nucleus of the NYC version of The Reactors in 1977, he would go on to form and play with the Transparent Things, and eventually the new-wave outfit The Abstracts, in the course of rocking such legendary venues as The Dirt Club, CBGB’s, Max’s Kansas City, and the Mudd Club, along with plenty of hole-in-the-wall punk clubs and bars so small they were “here today, and gone later today,” Vangieri recalled.

Though he couldn’t have known, Vangieri’s punk experiences were setting him up for a career in a type of music that at the time had barely been invented. As his bands explored their own interpretations of classic covers, he became intimately familiar with connecting to songs written and popularized by other musicians.

“We played a lot of other peoples’ music,” Vangieri said, “A lot of early British Invasion, including everything from the Kinks and The Who to early Beatles, but we’d add a little bit of an edge to it.”

His ability to commit to a plan and not look back didn’t go unchallenged, either. “It was a tough business,” Vangieri said of those early days. ”The bands were really rowdy, and we’d get into a lot of fights. You learned how to be tough and fearless.”

“You bottle all that up as you evolve as a professional,” he reflected, “But it matures into a really nice wine over time.”

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