Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Disappearing Venue: Sound Fix Silenced

From IndustryDrivel, my new blog on music marketing.

It’s a frosty night in Williamsburg a few weeks ago, and I am getting squished. If there is any place on the planet where people would flock to see vaguely twee indie pop from Cardiff, Wales in subzero climate, it would be Brooklyn’s nexus of hipsterdom. But I type such a sentiment lovingly – I have similar priorities. The band tonight particularly loveable: Los Campesinos!, who have just released a new album, just a half year since their debut. It’s my first show in about a month, and while the wait makes my ankles ache, the payoff is just as visceral and satisfying as ever.

Live in-store performances have always been a happy medium between the full blown shows and listening to a band on your iPod. They're also fantastic marketing tools - free admission virtually guarantees a packed room in the densely attentive NYC, as well as other big markets. A live performance by a band might just induce that reluctant fan to fork over the $14.99 for the actual album, and no bootleg can truly replace live music.

Unfortunately, it will to be one of the last events in Sound Fix, adding to the venue body count. While the record store mainstay will be hanging on, the performance area portion, which features a bar and small stage, is closing in February, according to brooklynvegan. Follow the paper trail, apparently the performance area has been in trouble since last April, as reported by Brownstoner. The culprit appears to be noise complaints from neighbors.

Tonight, I’m probably off to Studio B, another troubled Brooklyn venue that’s had its fair share of noise complaints, for the Norwegian DJ Lindstrøm. The club has recently reversed its strict 21+ policy, and shows through April are 19+. The mantra has always been that alcohol sales fuel a venue, so this is a bit of an interesting (though personally gratifying) change – perhaps they think underage people will be quieter?

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