We’ve all been there: you pay good money for concert tickets, only to have the experience spoiled by a loud bar scene or a chatty concert-goer seated behind you. Now one rising company has created a solution that not only gets you in front of performers and artists in intimate and unique settings, but might also make use of empty office space.
Enter Sofar Sounds, a network of artists, hosts and guests, all with the goal, the company says, of “bringing the magic back to live music.” Sofar is an abbreviated version of “Songs from a Room” – and that’s exactly what it is. In up-close, informal spaces, bands and artists perform short (typically 20 minutes) sets, unplugged. The company was founded in 2009 by two entrepreneurs who wanted more out of the concert experience. Tickets are offered for $15 and interested attendees RSVP to attend, but not everyone gets in and the location isn’t disclosed until midnight the day of the performance.
Today the company is in 311 global cities worldwide – from Vancouver to Havana, and Miami to Berlin, and the San Francisco Chronicle reports that 3,400 shows were offered last year alone, affirming that “on any given night, there’s a Sofar show happening somewhere in the world.”
So what’s the bend for CRE? Office space could be the perfect venue for a relaxed concert with an up-and-coming group. Last November in Atlanta, software engineering firm and coding school Iron Yard hosted a Sofar gathering in their office’s common space. The crowd brought their own drinks, pledged not to talk, live stream or take a barrage of pictures, and the show ended by 11 p.m.
Spaces, a Long Island City, New York, creative office and coworking space hosts “secret concerts” by Sofar in what the company calls “the heart of New York’s thriving arts community.” Twitter, Yelp and Facebook searches for Sofar events turn up shows hosted in office space across the U.S., including the Movember U.S. headquarters in Culver City, California; &Pizza’s D.C. office; and Work Heights in Brooklyn.
In case you’re wondering who profits from the concerts, it’s not the host site. Sofar says the revenue is typically used to hire sound engineers and photographers/videographers who capture the event for the artists’ future use.
Kathryn Hamilton is Vice President for Marketing and Communications at NAIOP Corporate.