Safe for Now, Brooklyn Music Mecca Sees a Cloudy Future
A recent report commissioned by New York's Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) is generally bullish about the city's music business, but identifies fault lines exactly where you might expect. The segment of the industry the authors identify as "mass music consumption"—a category that involves major live performances, broadcasting, online streaming, and record sales—is booming, with high average salaries and an expanding number of jobs. At the other end of the industry, a group identified as "local artist communities"—which includes the actual musicians, along with small venues like Barbes, schools, and rehearsal spaces—is struggling.
"I'm pretty pessimistic," Barbes founder Olivier Conan said. "I think we're going through such a horribly brutal phase of... I don't know, economic oppression, almost; I don't know what you call it. Since cities have become desirable again, there's no safe place for you to create low-cost environments that foster art."