(CelebrityAccess) — While it’s no secret that independent music venues across North America are struggling to survive, one music executive has launched a plan to save at least some of them and maybe reshape the music industry at the same time.
Marc Geiger, a veteran music exec who until earlier this year, served as the global head of music at talent agency WME, has launched SaveLives, a new venture aimed a throwing a financial lifeline to at-risk music venues.
According to the New York Times, Geiger has been quietly raising a capital that he hopes to invest in dozens of concert venues around the country to help them weather the storm of COVID-19.
In return, Geiger will receive a 51% stake in the rescued venue which he hopes to parley into regional networks that will help the concert industry return to full force as the pandemic wanes.
“One of my favorite things in the world is to go to a club, be treated well and see an incredible band,” Geiger, told the Times. “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.’”
SaveLives has amassed $75 million in available funding from an initial investment round and is already in talks with a number of venues around the US, Geiger told the newspaper.
“The hope here is to create a network effect,” Geiger told the Times. “To be a long-term backer, helper, grower of these businesses, and enjoy the wins.”
John Fogelman, another former WME agent co-founded SaveLives with Geiger, and the venture is backed by Jordan Moelis of Deep Field Asset Management, who told the Times that he has committed not only his company’s money to the venture but his own as well.
Not everyone is entirely convinced by the utility of Geiger’s plan, and skeptics include High Road Touring’s Frank Riley, who noted that the SaveLives plan undermines the concept of independent music venues.
“Geiger’s solution on some level scares me,” Riley told the Times “He is going to buy distressed properties for money on the dollar and end up owning 51 percent of their business. Is that independent? I don’t know. But it does save the platforms on which things grow and where artists are sustained.”