They cater to undiscovered Philly musicians

ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Dave Silver (left), founder and CEO of Broad Street Music Group, and Will Toms, partner and COO, started booking bands in a fraternity's basement. Now they book acts at World Cafe Live.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Dave Silver (left), founder and CEO of Broad Street Music Group, and Will Toms, partner and COO, started booking bands in a fraternity's basement. Now they book acts at World Cafe Live.
Posted: January 09, 2014

 DAVE SILVER, 22, and Will Toms, 22, of South Philadelphia, and Yehoshua Freed, 23, of Rhawnhurst, are owners of Broad Street Music Group. BSMG is an independent production and event promoter focused on undiscovered musicians. It books shows at World Cafe Live, MilkBoy Philadelphia and Hard Rock Cafe. I spoke with Silver, who is founder and CEO.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for the biz?

A: I was a student at Temple and there was a huge space in fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi's basement. A couple friends were musicians and the fraternity hosted a concert. I thought it could create an opportunity to showcase musicians. We hosted our first concert in January 2012 and an open mic every Thursday. A year later we went into a real venue and hosted an open mic with eight musicians at Broad Street Music Lounge and we put on a show on a Monday night. We hosted one show a week with eight different acts and we worked at two venues for several months.

Q: How does the biz model work?

A: We want to give talented but undiscovered musicians a way to succeed. We team with socialmedia companies, radio stations and music blogs. We host our own shows once a week.

Q: How do you make money?

A: We make our money through our shows, our website and advertising, and various companies that sponsor our events. We do a show at World Cafe Live and they'll take about 30 percent. If we bring in 150 people at $10 a head, musicians get about 15 percent.

Q: How big is the biz?

A: We didn't make enough money last year for anyone to live off of. We all have side jobs. We're working with World Cafe Live's Upstairs Live right now, which seats 200, but we're hoping to get [Downstairs Live], which seats 600. Our goal this year is to host two solid shows a month in the 500 to 1,000 person capacity by April. If we do that, in addition to weekly shows of 100 to 150 and small events plus additional advertising from our website, we expect revenues to rise this year to over $115,000.

Q: Who are some of the musicians you're working with?

A: Ground Up is our main one. We've worked with Chill Moody and Mic Stewart, who are also hip-hop artists.

Q: Who do you compete with?

A: Our main competitors are other people who throw events in the city, but it's not really competition if they aren't hosting events the same night we are.

Q: What's the biggest challenge growing the business?

A: Our people put the time in without a check. We try to motivate them by showing progress and a clear vision of where we're going. We're hoping to launch a Kickstarter campaign in February to help with national acts and promotion of shows.


On Twitter: @MHinkelman

Online: ph.ly/YourBusiness

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