Music Venues Are Going Multipurpose To Give Artists Better Deals – Billboard
In November, Brooklyn Bowl opened its fourth location in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia with a party featuring local talent Soulive, George Porter Jr. and Questlove. Following existing locations in Brooklyn, Las Vegas and Nashville, the Brooklyn Bowl’s latest bowling/performance space combination was the first launched in partnership with Live Nation – demonstrating the world’s largest promoter’s faith in a growing model of venues. mixed-use gig that allows owners to diversify revenue streams into the tight-margin live industry.
“When we created the Brooklyn Bowl, there were already so many great venues in New York like Irving Plaza or Bowery Ballroom,” says Pete Shapiro, who opened the original Brooklyn Bowl in 2009. , it is only a stage, a bar and an open floor.
The combination of concerts with bowling and a gourmet menu from the famous Blue Ribbon restaurant group reduces the Brooklyn Bowl’s dependence on ticket sales and instead allows the venue to offer more lucrative offers to artists in a competitive market. . The additional attractions bring customers to Brooklyn Bowl locations every night of the week, and Shapiro says they generate 400 to 500 walk-in ticket sales per show for venues ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 seats. The various venues have hosted artists as prestigious as The 1975, Beck, Jason Isbell, Fletcher, Twenty One Pilots, Tame Impala and many others.
“We are trying to keep our door charges low to increase our walk-in visits. Nobody goes to the Bowery Ballroom,” says Shapiro, who adds that walk-ins also drive discovery, with new fans stumbling upon acts performing in the same building. “It’s an easy decision for managers to say, ‘Play the Brooklyn Bowl.'” Offers are sometimes better too. The club’s original location in Brooklyn, for example, allows artists to keep 100% of merchandise sales since the venue generates enough revenue from its other sources of income to make up the difference.
As the live music business struggles to emerge from the pandemic, interest in this type of diverse business model is growing. Austin’s 1852, Tribe Supper Club in Chicago and Lori’s Roadhouse outside of Cincinnati all opened in 2021 as combined venue/restaurants, while Against the Grain opened its brand new brewery/live music venue in Louisville, NY. Kentucky.
In September, former Live Nation New York president Anthony Makes opened the 500-seat Brooklyn Made venue in the Bushwick neighborhood, which also includes Connie’s bar/restaurant and the Standing Room cafe. Of the three businesses in the building, Brooklyn Made is open from 7 a.m. to 4 a.m. for coffee, music, food, and drink. With four rooftop terraces, the property also offers pandemic-friendly outdoor spaces for people to gather. As with Brooklyn Bowl, additional revenue streams provide better deals for performers and allow Brooklyn Made to share more ticket revenue with performers.
“We only cover our minimum production expenses and give everything else to the artist,” Makes said. Billboard in September. “The deals we make are pretty unknown.”
Makes thinks the general purpose ownership model has room to grow. While the Bushwick venue will remain the “heart” of the business, Makes says he’s already envisioning larger spaces with capacities of 1,000 to 2,500 seats that can provide the same all-day amenities for performers and audiences. fans. With 30 years of experience working for Live Nation, AEG and The Bowery Presents, Makes says the traditional venue model where doors open at 7 p.m. for an 8 p.m. show with headliners at 10 a.m. isn’t desirable for Brooklyn Made, whose promotional division launched amid the pandemic in July 2020.
“I never wanted this kind of structure for [Brooklyn Made],” he says. “I want people to be there all day.”
Such mixed-use buildings are easier to design from scratch, but established sites have also expanded their operations. The 300-capacity Rebel Lounge in Arizona opened the Reap & Sow Coffee Bar in October 2020 to serve coffee and pastries from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily and drinks in the evening. The cafe – started with friends and Driftwood Coffee owners Luke Bentley and Lance Linderman – was originally a way to create just enough income to keep the business afloat while Rebel Lounge owner Steve Chilton , was awaiting federal funds from the Closed Site Operators Grant, but it proved profitable enough to stay. Since opening the cafe, Chilton says Rebel Lounge has attracted more neighbors to the building, and the venue benefits from having staff present all day to receive mail or open doors for bands arriving for soundcheck. .
“It’s not a huge money maker or something we could live off of, [but] it’s a nice little sideline and every dollar counts,” says Chilton. “And it has some positives that aren’t just the end result: it brings more life to the building and makes us more part of the community.”
Since the resumption of concerts at the Rebel Lounge, the venue has been forced to adapt to cafe opening hours by scheduling sound checks and door times later, but Chilton notes that many acts are showing up from any way early. “They come early, have a cup of coffee and hang out here,” he says. “At the moment it’s going well, and the hope is that it lasts. We’ll try as long as it makes sense.