One of NYC’s most iconic music venues, Webster Hall, is going corporate.

The 131 year old building, which has been run by the Ballinger family for the past 27 years, has been sold to AEG Presents and Barclay’s Center corporate parent, Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment. The deal is speculated to be valued at $35 million, while ownership is split 50-50 between AEG and BSE.

AEG recently acquired promoter Bowery Presents, which will take control of booking and marketing for the venue. Interestingly, Bowery Presents actually used to have exclusive booking rights for Webster up until March 2014, when the venue took control of promotion itself. Moreover, it currently handles booking for Mercury Lounge and Bowery Ballroom, both situated in Manhattan.

This deal is another step in AEG’s attempt to dominate the music market in New York, as it previously launched Panorama Festival on Randall’s Island, in 2016, and aides in operations in Brooklyn venues Barclays Center and the newly renovated Nassau Coliseum. Webster would be the company’s first Manhattan nightspot, and a great one at that, given it was named Pollstar’s nightclub of the year last year, based on ticket sales by volume. On top of that, the concert hall is even designated as an official New York City landmark!

Webster is famous for its gritty time-tested atmosphere, but that’s about to change. According to Billboard, AEG chairman Jay Marciano stated that the company plans to spend around $10 million renovating most of the major spaces in the building, “to bring them up to contemporary standards and add a few more customer features.” For some, this is a welcomed and much needed change. For others, not so much. Many patrons love Webster’s current brazen feel, as it’s something that sets the venue apart from other concert halls in the city, and makes for a unique experience. Moreover, many appreciate the venue’s focus on providing an affordable night out, with weekly free guest lists, as well as plentiful giveaways and relatively cheap ticket prices. With new corporate management, some are afraid all that may change too.

Another thing Webster excels at, is regularly hosting a diverse array of acts. The venue works tirelessly to bring talent - ranging from newcomers to mainstream hits, and from rock’n’roll to trance - to its doors. With so much changing at Webster, there is some serious concern that the music hall may no longer work towards providing the universal lineups it’s known for, particularly when it comes to underground acts.

However, BSE CEO Brett Yormark hopes Webster Hall, and other AEG facilities, become hotspots for rising artists who aspire to play big arena shows at Nassau Coliseum and Barclays Center. He said, "We're trying to diversify our venue portfolio so we can connect with artists early and often," adding, "We have a progression approach that allows us to get to know them and let them understand the experience they'll have when they play one of our venues."

While the NYC electronic music community eagerly awaits to see what the new management does with the beloved venue, we can only hope the only change to come is positive and universally welcomed!

H/T: Billboard

Cover photo courtesy of Webster Hall

Related

A crowd shot from inside historic New York City (NYC) venue Webster Hall.

The Historic Webster Hall Plans to Bring Back Club Nights

The renovated music venue is set to reinstall their famous Saturday night parties.

A crowd shot from inside historic New York City (NYC) venue Webster Hall.

Webster Hall to Reopen in 2019 Following Renovations

New York City is about to get one of its staple venues back.

Elements Festival NYC

7 EXCITING ACTS YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS AT NYC’S ELEMENTS FESTIVAL THIS WEEKEND

If you're in NYC, Elements is the place to be this weekend.

120955062_10158672327372118_6756860259209263136_n

Celebrated Electronic Music Venue U Street Music Hall Closes After 10 Years

A-Trak, Herobust, CRAY, and more took to social media to lament the news.

The Stud

Historic Venue The Stud, Oldest Gay Bar In San Francisco, Is Closing Its Doors

Another storied venue sadly bites the dust due to the impact of COVID-19.

Native Instruments

NATIVE INSTRUMENTS RECEIVES $59 MILLION INVESTMENT TO MAKE MUSIC CREATION MORE ACCESSIBLE

Innovation for Native Instruments means innovation for electronic music.

Elements NYC 2017

Elements Music & Art Festival Returns To NYC For Fifth Edition This Saturday

In NYC next weekend? Join Bassnectar, Emancipator, Justin Jay, Snakehips, SNBRN, and more, at Elements