Broad Street Music Group, founded and owned by Temple alumnus David Silver, is a music booking and showcasing agency that has been providing quality performance opportunities for local up-and-coming artists for the past two years – an industry that Silver said Philadelphia had previously been lacking in.
Silver, who graduated from Temple in 2013 majoring in advertising and entrepreneurship, launched Broad Street Music Group in 2012 with the help of his long-time friend Will Toms, a 2013 communications and economics graduate of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In the past couple of years, BSMG has thrown more than 130 shows and spotlighted more than 1,200 local artists.
Silver and Toms said they always planned on working together professionally in the entertainment industry.
“We have similar mindsets,” Silver said. “When we both graduated, he moved back to Philly, and it wasn’t even a question of if we were going to pursue this together.”
The two came up with the idea after Silver started hosting open mic nights called Broad Street Music Lounge in the basement of his fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi, at Temple to raise money for the fraternity’s philanthropy. The shows started getting packed with nearly 100 students every night, so Silver decided to move the shows to a local bar on Monday nights.
Soon after, they were hosting four shows a week at different local bars in the city, all to provide performance opportunities for local musicians. When Toms moved back to Philly, he immediately got on board.
In May 2014, Silver and Toms launched a record label that represented four of the local artists they discovered through BSMG, and re-branded to RECollective Records.
“RECollective Records answered a lot of questions that came up with BSMG,” Silver said. “Out of all the artists we’ve spotlighted, we picked four that we thought had the ‘it’ factor to really make a significant impact on the Philly music community and to make an impact on music in general.”
The four RECollective Records artists are Christian Express, Faylin Johnson, Milton and Patrick Donovan.
“They’re each Philadelphia-based and have a soul R&B sound,” Silver said.
The duo also launched its city-wide initiative called RECphilly, with the goal of filling the gaps in the music industry that Philly artists see too often.
“We noticed that there’s plenty of talent and reputable venues, but the problem is lack of cohesion among these businesses that could be a music industry,” Toms said. “There were talented musicians that wanted to go national, but didn’t have the resources at their fingertips or didn’t know how to market themselves.”
Toms calls RECollective Records “a bunch of hungry, ambitious millennials who are looking to change the music industry with our hard work and determination.”
“Instead of letting these great artists run away to other cities like [New York] or [Los Angeles], we decided to become a meeting ground,” he added. “Our mission is to be multipliers for the industry and have artists and other small entertainment businesses come to us so we can connect them and use the resources and knowledge we have to provide opportunity and guidance.”
Silver said the Philly music industry hasn’t been thriving since the late 1980s, and its goal is to change that.
“Everyday we connect these people together through meetings with booking agents, employers, press outlets, distributors, venues and more,” Silver said. “We want everyone to be on the same page of what we’re trying to do for the Philly music scene.”
Silver and Toms have the opportunity to put a national spotlight on Philly’s music scene at the SXSW Festival – one of the biggest music, film and technology conventions in the country – in Austin, Texas. They put together a lineup of artists that impressed the booking agency at SXSW, and after Silver’s persistence, they offered them a stage at the festival this March.
“For us to be able to get a space down there and represent Philly at one of the biggest, most influential conventions in the world and to be able to extend that opportunity to people in our network, means a lot to us,” Toms said.
Chelsey Hamilton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org