Making a business out of free concerts

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One of the best parts of living in a big city is getting the opportunity to attend tons of free promotional events sponsored by venues, brands and other organizers. When music aficionado Andy Meyers moved to NYC in 2008 to attend NYU’s music business graduate program, he realized that there were tons of free shows in NYC but there wasn’t a regularly updated, centralized listing for these free concerts.

By the end of ’09, he began his own outlet, which has since grown to become one of the premiere outlets for free show listings in NYC. Metro’s Locally Amped sat down with Meyers to chat about MyFreeConcert and the music scene in New York.

Metro: How did MyFreeConcert begin?
Andy Meyers: I originally began it because I didn’t want to email friends [about events.] I told them, ‘if you want to go to things I like, I’ll post it to my page.’ I met a couple of people who thought that it was a great idea. For a year and a half, it was very basic and I kept it kind of indie. But, then I started getting partnerships with bigger brands…

Metro: Since then, it’s definitely developed as you now often feature giveaways for shows at Terminal 5, Webster Hall, bigger shows at Madison Square Garden and music festivals around NYC. How did those opportunities come about?
A.M.: Our main approach is that we’re really consumer-friendly and brands are willing to throw down. They want email addresses and exposure. We do lots of giveaways via social media — Twitter’s gone huge. If we can help them, they can help us.

Metro: So, you began the site while you were in the NYU graduate Music Business program. How did that program help you to start the site?
A.M.: It put me in the right atmosphere. For part of the program, you write a thesis and I thought that that [MyFreeConcert] could be a good project. A lot of the people there that I met were like-minded, as we were all kind of working in the music industry. In class, I used some concepts and had active discussions about the site with my classmates. It definitely helped immensely.

Metro: What are your responsibilities at MFC on a day-to-day basis?
A.M.: I’m a content person: finding things, getting social media done, putting the proper emphasis on shows. I work with four others, but I founded the site.

Metro: What’s the most difficult part of the job?
A.M.: One problem is deciding how to use my time. We work with other PR companies, Bowery Presents, blogs that reach out to me and people posting events. Everyone is emailing me to come to their show — and it’s overwhelming at times, especially when there’s a lot of work to be done.

Metro: At the same time, you also get lots of perks as you’re able to attend lots of shows and events for free. What are your favorite venues in NYC for live music?
A.M.: Brooklyn Bowl and Bowery Ballroom. Brooklyn Bowl because they always get solid acts and it just has a great vibe. Bowery Ballroom because it’s probably the best place to see some really huge acts.

Metro: What do you have planned for MFC in the future?
A.M.: We want to do more coverage, including photos and reviews. We’ve also started hosting shows in Manhattan.  We’re working with BuzzChips, who book the bands, and we will start hosting shows at a new venue called Subculture in June. You’ll definitely want to stay tuned as there are a lot of neat things we’re working on as summer starts.

Check out the MyFreeConcert site for comprehensive free concert listings and follow them on Twitter and Facebook.



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