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Not happy with existing venues? Make a new one.

Gary Jules was a musician in Los Angeles who wished there was a Hollywood venue more friendly to musicians. A place where people would come to listen, not talk over the music. A place to play, not showcase.

Because there were no venues like that, he decided to make a new one.

He noticed a little coffee shop on Cahuenga. A perfect middle-of-Hollywood location, but had no music.

He asked if he could play there on Tuesday nights, and bring his own crowd and sound system. They let him.

Soon he was inviting his favorite artists as opening acts, and hosting a weekly songwriter’s circle, too.

It was going well, so he left his PA system there full-time, and started booking great artists every night.

There was one big rule: no talking during playing. Audiences were warned not to talk, and performers would even stop the show if someone did. (“You can go anywhere else in LA to talk over the music. Not here.”)

Within a couple months, the coffee shop didn’t even open during the day anymore. They are now one of the best music venues in Hollywood, The Hotel Café, and world-famous artists play there every night.

(To be clear: Gary only did this in 2002 and 2003. By the end of 2003, he had a #1 UK hit with “Mad World”. The Hotel Café owners, Marko and Max, deserve all credit for its amazing growth since then.)

Anyway, the real point is not Gary or Hotel Café, but this:

If you’re not happy with any of the existing players in “the industry”, don’t limit your options to what already exists. You can make a new venue, a new store, or anything else.

Reader Comments (9)

I am just about to begin the build of an interactive music promotion website for a university project, this gives me great enthusiasm to crack on with it!

Loving the reads, still very early days since i only 'stumbled' upon the site a few days ago, thanks to

October 7 | Unregistered CommenterMartin

best post ever!

October 7 | Unregistered Commentercraig

Great post! I've blogged about this before on my site as well as followed it to the hilt. When I couldn't get any reviews in national music magazines I started my own (print first now web only) that garners 2000 hits a day and allows me to promote my label's music as well as others through it.

Dude, what a nice post. I'm translating it under CC rules to Portuguese and gonna definitely talk about this in my blog. (Referencing, of course. =))

October 8 | Unregistered CommenterXKuei

Oh, would translating be a form of derivative work? For Creative Commons matter?
Hope not...

October 8 | Unregistered CommenterXKuei

XKueil -

I'd love it if you translated to Portuguese!

Could you email it to me when done?


- Derek

October 9 | Unregistered CommenterDerek Sivers

If you don't like the existing paradigm - BLOW IT UP!

Excellent post -


October 9 | Unregistered CommenterDarryl Gregory

While there IS a venue in Los Angeles that does not allow talking, it's not Hotel Cafe. It's called Largo.

October 11 | Unregistered Commenternd

This is EXACTLY what is needed nationwide, a string of LISTENING venues where rowdy, noisy cretins are NOT welcome to congregate. A place where the music, the food, the vibe and the AUDIENCE all work together to create a place where beginners, veteran musicians and the average joe can congregate in PEACE.

December 2 | Unregistered CommenterLem Genovese

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