The owners of the Lower East Side music clubs, Bowery Ballroom and Mercury Lounge, are teaming up with Live Nation, the corporate concert conglomerate.
Michael Swier, who founded both clubs, made the announcement today, saying that the Live Nation partnership would mean the creation of a new booking entity called Mercury East Presents. Live Nation already controlled big NYC venues, such as Irving Plaza, Gramercy Theater and the Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island. The company also runs the Governors Ball Festival. As the New York Times reported, “The deal reflects the rapid consolidation of a local market that until recently had been dominated by scrappy independents.”
Live Nation’s chief rival, AEG, acquired the booking company, Bowery Presents, earlier this year. But the Lower East Side clubs were not part of the deal. AEG is now renovating Webster Hall, and operates Terminal Hall, among other local venues.
Swier told the Times, “The way the landscape has changed these days, with consolidation, this is the counterbalance one would need to exist and compete with the formidable Bowery Presents-AEG alliance… Going it alone was not an option.”