Famed music studio hits right note with move to Times Square
Considered by many to be the world’s preeminent commercial music production studio, JSM Music is leaving a 7,200-square-foot space downtown for a 10,500-square-foot penthouse near Times Square.
Though small in size, the deal just signed punches well above its weight class in symbolism, creative relevance and emotion.
JSM — winner of countless Grammys, Clios and other industry accolades — produced the music for seven of this year’s Super Bowl commercials, including WPP Agency Wunderman Thompson’s ad for Hellman’s mayonnaise starring Jon Hamm and Brie Larson.
It is commonly said that creative and media companies do not need as many employees in offices as financial and law firms. Don’t the creatives get nervous when they don’t work from home, where they connect with bosses and colleagues between healthy snacks and dog walks?
But hear from JSM founder and CEO Joel Simon on the indispensability of personal, face-to-face collaboration in which he is a master:
“Everything I loved about Zoom at the start of the pandemic is everything I hate now,” said Simon. “Instead of just a conversation, or ‘hey, come over and let’s talk,’ it was all about a presentation.”
“Bringing in all of our outside talent and having clients on site couldn’t come soon enough for me. It is so important to be together and exchange ideas.”
“That’s where the magic happens. Making something from nothing. You never know when the sparkle will hit you. There is no replacement.”
JSM moved to 30 Broad Street about six years ago. His team enthusiastically returned to the studio “even before the city said it was okay,” Simon recalls. But recently it was time for a change when hammering exterior facades provided a less than ideal background for creating and recording commercial music.
When Simon posted photos of the recent JSM move to social media, “People asked me, OMG – are you going remote? You save so much money!” Or, “You’re moving to Miami,” he recalled with a laugh.
No, he explained. They went to Midtown, a stone’s throw from the bright lights of Broadway and the city’s most legendary entertainment district.
A JLL team led by Brett Harvey and Zachary Azus represented JSM Music in the lease. Landlord APF Properties was represented by John Ryan III and Rachel Rosenfeld of Avison Young. Neither Simon nor the real estate agents would discuss the lease terms, but a source said the rent being asked was in the mid-$70s per square foot range.
JSM will use its new uptown digs for commercial music composition, recording, production, post-production and sound design.
The penthouse has 20-foot ceilings and large outdoor terraces, but the appeal of the neighborhood was just as great. Simon’s thirty employees were excited to be in what he calls “the heart of Manhattan.” The block between Fifth and Sixth Avenues is lined with trendy restaurants, hotels and clubs, but Simon has an unlikely particular favourite.
“I like dinners,” he said. “There wasn’t a good one near our old studio. When I came here, the first thing I looked at was the restaurant across the street.”
That’s the ever-popular Red Flame at 67 W. 44th – which also happens to be Realty Check’s favorite.