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de Blasio administration releases report on NYC music industry, finds small venues to be at risk

Economic Impact, Trends, and Opportunities Music in New York City

The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment commissioned the first major economic impact study on the music industry in NYC, and the results have now been published. Conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, the report found that in 2015, NYC supported “60,000 jobs, accounting for roughly $5 billion in wages, and generating a total economic output of $21 billion (in business revenues and self-employment receipts).” While the study found the industry in NYC to be “thriving” in general, it also found something that should be no surprise to readers of this website: small venues are the most at risk for closure, finding that 20% of NYC’s smaller venues have closed in the last 15 years:

The reasons for these closures—the rising real estate prices, zoning pressures, increasing operating costs and financial risks, noise complaints, and licensing problems that small venue owners face—are, if anything, more acute and more worrisome today. A high concentration of closed venues have been located in areas like the East Village and Williamsburg—neighborhoods whose burgeoning popularity has been matched by burgeoning rents, and where the creation of new residential units has amplified quality-of-life disturbances. While new venues in the outer boroughs are opening their doors, music label and talent executives contend that it will be difficult for these spaces to replicate the concentration of talent and the level of community of the city’s historic music clusters…

…“There just aren’t enough viable showcase and development opportunities for the small local artist,” explains a live music executive. But there is a cascading effect, too. In order to compete for gigs, musicians need to focus more on the business end of their work, leaving them less time to focus on their artistic development. To complicate things further, as artists look to develop their business skills, the resources to help them do so are scarce. Educational programs – including those that teach artists how to run a music business or how to generate alternative revenue streams – are often limited to top music students or those who can afford classes. Also in short supply, but facing increasing demand, is subsidized artist housing and collaboration space.

Just today, Brooklyn DIY venue Shea Stadium announced it was temporarily closing again due to “increasing pressure from the local authorities” and we lost Cake Shop at the end of 2016. Read the whole 56-page report, which offers “areas of opportunity for New York City government initiatives,” here.

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