Earlier this week, the Washington, DC’s 9:30 Club announced the arrival of 9:30 Records. Essentially DC’s version of the Bowery Ballroom, the venue has been booking top-tier acts for over 30 years (Dirty Projectors, of Montreal, Big Boi and Superchunk all have shows in the coming weeks), so it makes sense for them to expand into other pockets of the music industry. I mean, they know good music, right? And 9:30 co-owner Seth Hurwitz — now the president of 9:30 Records — has a point:
It’s no secret the traditional record business is in total disarray. But I’ve been an independent businessman my entire career and have been used to taking things into my own hands, so we decided, hell, we’ll launch a record label so we can launch Justin Jones.
And that’s where things get a little hairy: The label’s first signee, country-rock dude Justin Jones, has been a bartender at the club for years and managed by Hurwitz for the last four. Between managing an artist, owning a club where the artist is already set to play, and running the label releasing said artists’ album, Hurwitz’ personal interests seem to be tied in across the board. If other venues start taking note, this could be setting a dicey precedent for things to come. Imagine Bowery Presents signing Joe Blow, and Joe Blow suddenly popping up on every Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall bill. That just wouldn’t feel right, would it?