For anyone that's been out and about in NY, Webster Hall is a staple for great music events varying from rock, EDM, hip-hop, and more. In a city with so many things happening every single night, the space has become one of the city's biggest and baddest place to be at.
We sat down with Heath Miller, the Vice President and Talent Buyer at Webster Hall about how they have made their way to the top.
How did you start your career in the music business?
In high school, I started going to a lot of shows in the area – both local bands and bigger touring acts – and I lucked into an internship at a recording studio in my town. I learned about recording and live sound, and started doing sound at local shows. One day I thought “these people booking the shows aren’t any smarter than me, I’ll start booking shows too”. It took off from there!
What is the best part of the business?
We spend our day putting together events for people to have fun at. We’re the fun makers!
What are the biggest challenges?
We’re a very competitive market, and we have to work with a wide range of personalities, to say the least. There’s rarely a dull day between the things that happen with industry people, artists, and fans.
What career advice would you recommend to someone just starting off?
Your reputation is the only thing you really have. Honor your deals, and be truthful. Work with people, not against people.
As the music industry continues to grow, what do you think the secrets to longevity in this business will be?
You still can’t recreate the live experience and social aspects of a concert sitting in front of your computer. Sitting home alone, drinking, and listening to music is a lot less fun than doing it in a packed room with all your friends with a live band or DJ on stage.
Did you start off as a fan of music and then became involved on the business side, or did business bring you into the music world? Describe that process.
Completely! I stumbled into this great local music scene in North NJ that was fun and exciting and filled with people in bands and people trying to work with bands. It's amazing how many people I’ve know since high school are still in music as either an artist or industry.
What does music mean to you?
It can be an expression of emotion – it can be an outlet to let go – it can be that feeling that makes you forget every problem in the world and life. It’s a unifying force that can bring people from all different walks of life and backgrounds to the same place to sing together. Music and food are two of the most important things that can be enjoyed alone or in a diverse group. Food is clearly a requirement to live, but music is a close second.
What cities/regions do you think underground music is best thriving?
New York/Tristate Area – often a lot of bands start in the burbs where space is less of a premium. With NJ and Long Island having so many basements and garages, it’s enabled so many bands to start there and become NYC artists. The massive amount of college students here is a big factor as well, and so many great artists have come out of New Brunswick, NJ. Nashville is also an exciting area for music, and it’s so different than the NY area in both genre and model of how the scene is.
If you weren’t in the music biz, what would you be doing?
Likely something involving food, wine, tech or scuba diving. In an ideal world, if I could have a facility where I could create amazing food + produce exciting wine + scuba dive and have a stage for music, it’d be perfect.
Where do you see the most opportunity in the music industry (i.e. Music, experience, nightclubs, behind the scenes, etc) and why?
Go where your skills take you. My music creation ability? N/A. My ability to create a concert with talented musicians? That I can do and well. Identify when you’re great with the tech end, the artistic end, or the business end as a starting point.