Music Exec Marc Geiger Is Buying Up Independent Music Venues To Save Them
With the pandemic still raging and live music on hold for the foreseeable future, independent music venues are in a particularly precarious position. Many beloved clubs have already been forced to shutter. But music executive Marc Geiger, the former global music chief of the WME talent agency who cofounded Lollapalooza and ARTISTdirect, has a plan to save them — by buying them up.
“One of my favorite things in the world is to go to a club, be treated well and see an incredible band,” Geiger tells The New York Times in a new interview. “So I thought, ‘OK, I’m going to raise a bunch of money and I’m going to backstop all these clubs. I’m going to be a bailout solution for them, and I’m going to call the company SaveLive.’”
The idea behind SaveLive is to invest in dozens of clubs all over the country, buying at least 51% of their business equity. Once the pandemic subsides and live music returns, Geiger intends to help them expand and create an indie touring network with favorable deals for ticketing and sponsorship. “The hope here is to create a network effect,” Geiger explains. “To be a long-term backer, helper, grower of these businesses, and enjoy the wins.”
Geiger insists that despite controlling a majority share in the businesses, these deals will be genuine partnerships, and he’s not going to flip any assets. “We don’t see this as a distressed-asset play,” adds Jordan Moelis of Deep Field Asset Management, Geiger’s primary backer. “We see this as a business-building play, a play to be a long-term partner and to be around for a long time.”
Geiger has already secured $75 million in capital and is negotiating with a number of venues. And although he doesn’t expect concerts to return at full strength until 2022 or later, SaveLive projects that it will be profitable within four years. “I believe the artist economy is going to be very big when it comes back,” Geiger says. “Artists will want to tour to get their cash moving again, and people are going to love going out more than ever.”