Ad Agency Saatchi & Saatchi NY to Close its Music Department

In another example of the dwindling New York City music industry, Saatchi & Saatchi New York confirmed they are laying off their entire music department. This is undoubtably partially due to turmoil in the music industry as a whole, but for a place like NY, arguably once the center of the musical universe, it is especially hard to watch another segment of this cornerstone of our cultural capital take another hit. With the recent news of the recording facility Avatar going up for sale, and in recent years the closing of Frank Music, Colony, Steinway’s iconic flagship location, Roseland, and the end of music row on 48th street, among other losses, it is another reminder of why MOMENT NYC exists — to help preserve New York’s musical history, to support it’s present and to do everything possible to secure its sustainable future. NY’s traditional musical ecosystem is made of many parts: music venues and recording studios of all sizes, a variety of genres of music being created by multiple generations —working separately but also together, passing on traditions, wisdom and skills— and commercial and non commercial places, and communities where people can make and experience music. Today the very problem we see with the national economy is echoed in our music economy; there are very few middle class job opportunities left. There are also the effects of technologies that increasingly make being located in places like NY less of a necessity. However, NY’s unique density of diverse cultures and communities, its world class venerable institutions, and more critically its small specialized groups still clearly create ample conditions for great stimulation in the arts. MOMENT NYC hopes to bring the common concerns of these diverse groups together as one voice that can advocate for a healthy sustainable future for the music industry and musicians in NYC, to build an institution that represents the beautiful story of music in NY that can directly provide work for musicians and education for the next generation of musicians through NY’s unique music history, exposure to a wide variety of music and hands on interaction with professional musicians, instruments and materials. The warning signs have been many and clear. Ultimately the high profitability of NYC real estate creates strong incentives that run counter to building artistic communities and without a fight these incentives will continue to gut grass roots communities. On the other end of the spectrum are the large industry players. If we lose the big ad agency work, the big studios and record labels, the mid sized concert venues, the mom and pops and the middle class jobs, what will be left? Broadway musicians are fighting to keep from being replaced by canned music, orchestras are struggling to fill seats. We need a larger vision for solutions that can benefit the entire musical community of New York City and all its citizens. As I just heard John Zorn say about the NY music scene on the Brian Lehrer show “’s still the most exciting city on the planet.” Let’s keep it that way!