Funding Friday: The Other Music Documentary

Other Music was an iconic record store in Greenwich Village in NYC. It closed last year.

This project is a documentary about an amazing place that no longer exists.

I backed it this morning.


Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    Nice. Just backed it. I loved the old French singers on the campaign’s image- all my favorites while growing-up. Speaking of records and New York, does anyone remember Crazy Eddie? So many memories there.

    1. Tom Labus

      At one point he fled to Israel but may have come back to face the music

    2. Twain Twain

      My first-ever trip to NY was in 2010 so no Crazy Eddie for me. I’m much more familiar with where to find good bakeries and chocolate in NY than music.Going to this debate on blockchain next week:*…Any suggestions on questions to ask?

      1. William Mougayar

        Ask whatever is flowing through your head :)What are your favorite bakeries/pasty/choc shops in NYC?

        1. Twain Twain

          Ha! I’m asking how Quantum Computing will affect blockchain and I’m asking Vinay about this:*…I was at an AI talk about optimizing GPUs for Tensorflow and the speaker made a comment about data parallel vs model parallel which set off some lightbulbs.On NY bakeries, there is of course the heavenly Magnolia banana pudding ( https://uploads.disquscdn.c…Alas, no more Blackhound (…My place to hangout is MarieBelle ( https://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.c

          1. William Mougayar

            Good question on scalability and quantum + AI.Have you been to Dominique Ansel bakery or Mah Ze Dahr.

          2. Twain Twain

            Dominique Ansel’s opened in London: https://uploads.disquscdn.c…I was reading Vitalik’s hypercube theory for solving scalability:…As I said before, Satoshi didn’t think through QC-proofing of blockchain. Here’s the transition from classical binary computer structures to qubits. https://uploads.disquscdn.c…Can it also crack the node vertex in the middle?Well, there are lots of types of qubits and that’s one of them.

          3. LE

            If those are your pictures you have a nice sense of composition. You’d be surprised how many people have no ability to do that. Ever get someone to take a group photo with your camera? They never get it right.

          4. Twain Twain

            This is my photo. The others aren’t. Strangers on the street have asked me to take photos of them and they’re really surprised how everything lines up and is well-composed. https://uploads.disquscdn.c…There is this weird thing that goes on where my hand-eye coordination knows precisely where pixels are. It’s really useful for playing Angry Birds as much as for taking photos.

          5. Richard

            Ha! Have you ever looked at her slides?

          6. Twain Twain

            HA back at cha! With KISS, my slides could look like this: https://uploads.disquscdn.c…But AI — especially Natural Language — is complex. https://uploads.disquscdn.c…Sure we can assume the end-user doesn’t need to know how C19th physics affects their search results and product recommendations.But, well, everyone talks about the third wave of AI being about “context awareness” and explainability so, at some point, the AI should be able to map why and how today’s technology does what it does.The AI will need to be able to “connect the dots” and see the whole picture in the same way we do.

          7. Lawrence Brass

            Totally agree with you. Must be the AI in Twain’s phone or camera 🙂

        2. awaldstein

          I often bike over to the East Village and get gluten free bagels and bialys from with hand cut lox from Russ & Daughters (best lox in the city for over 125 years).

          1. awaldstein

            There are many. My roots are on Rivington Street so each to their own.

          2. William Mougayar

            I never got to visit russ & daughters but will need to, eventually.

          3. awaldstein

            They have a cafe that I”ve never been to so let’s do breakfast next time.

          4. William Mougayar

            Sounds like a plan

  2. Tom Labus

    They had a pretty long run. Bookstores and records just about gone downtown now.

  3. Matt A. Myers

    Re: Funding -I’d like SoundCloud to reach out to the community – Wikipedia style perhaps. The recent mass lay-off signals that the struggle is real. Discussion on HN and other places suggested people, including myself, would be willing to pay $1/month simply for access via (single song widget listening should stay free). Uploaders sounded like they’d be willing to pay $1/month per upload as well. You’ll cut out people who don’t really value the service, and reduce the lower quality content – or at least content from people who aren’t wanting to use the service to reach their audience/promote themselves/make themselves available everywhere.It sounded like there should be a pullback to the old algorithm for discovery purposes as well – if the purposes of the changes was to help with ad revenue etc then clearly it wasn’t as effective or important / valuable for keeping users sticky.Obviously I and others don’t have the inside scoop. The layoffs, as suggested by someone, could/are (?) part of a future financing deal (or was it relating to a past financing?) to give more runway?It would be a huge loss if SoundCloud closed its doors.

    1. Salt Shaker

      SoundCloud should pitch Starbucks about becoming their in-house entertainment arm (strategic partnership or equity exchange). SB’s can showcase and deliver for SC broad/incremental distribution to a captive audience that’s consistent w/ Starbucks desire to create a cool, engaging ambiance for its stores. SC tracks/playlists could be curated and tailored to different SB’s neighborhoods/demography. SB’s would get a royalty on all premium SC subscriptions sold and offer debit/gift cards that include a SC sub option. SC’s current ad rev model isn’t sustainable and upsell to premium subscriptions evidently isn’t working too well. They need to change up the model or marketing (or both).

      1. LE

        That’s an interesting idea although they might run into the ‘hard seats at McDonalds’ concept. [1] And being done by Spotify (not sure how the music compares not being a music guy..)Also hard to believe they haven’t already explored this with the Starbucks people mentioned in this article:…[1] Can’t be to comfortable or inviting or people linger to long. This is probably already a problem with Starbucks? I don’t want my seat taken by someone who sits longer than they need to enjoying the music. (The issue is people with laptops using as an office).

        1. PhilipSugar

          Selling to Starbucks is near impossible. They get hundreds of requests a day for meetings. They have to want to buy.As far as the hard seats of McDonalds versus Starbucks. That simply is just going against the grain. If I am out of town for a meeting where do I go? No brainer, and I don’t even like their coffee.As far as Soundcloud. I don’t usually see layoffs prior to a sale, usually after a sale. To me this sounds like they have an investor lined up but the investor said given your revenue your costs have to be this, or I don’t write a check. They had a ton of people, I can’t understand why so many.Now of course this is really shitty especially considering they were just hiring people. But I have seen that done also when people were raising money. I have seen the same excuse we don’t want people to think anything is amiss. I really think that is a dirty deed. I almost always take the employer side not the employee, but if you hire somebody and then fire them for no reason right after you hire them you owe them. (I have fired people that mis represented their skills. I tell people in the interview, don’t do that, there is no where here to hide)At least they did it in one big shot. That is the right way to do it. Usually the people that yip the loudest are those with no savings and no prospects to get another job.Will these lose more people? Sure, and many of those will be good people. It is why I don’t like to get “over my skis” to far.People will say I’m conservative, but it’s because I’ve done turnarounds, not just startups.

          1. LE

            Selling to Starbucks is near impossible. They get hundreds of requests a day for meetings. They have to want to buy.In some cases that barrier to entry is good though. Not in all cases but if you have competition exactly what you want is the tough nut to crack. The guy who is easy to get an appointment with is also going to be easy for your competitor to get in to see. Now if you have a unique product with no competition that your potential customer doesn’t know about then having a big barrier might mean to move to an easier prospect ‘the guy who takes meetings with anyone’.To me this sounds like they have an investor lined up but the investor said given your revenue your costs have to be this, or I don’t write a check. I don’t want to appear to be bending my statement because I do think there are many reasons to lay off people prior to a sale because it improves your profit. But the above to me is similar to a sale anyway because an investor is buying part of the company rather than the entire company. I have seen the same excuse we don’t want people to think anything is amiss. I really think that is a dirty deed.When does ‘dirty deed’ enter into it though? That’s easy to say when you don’t have money on the line that is what people on the internet always do (not a jab at you btw.) They have some principle that they espouse that has no impact on them so it’s easy for them to say ‘this is what I would do what they did is wrong’.Gotham Gal the other day talked about how landlords change a neighborhood and rent to the wrong companies who change the character. I would like to see what she would do if she owned a building. Would she take less rent because it’s shitty to put a CVS on the street? Maybe she would because she doesn’t need the money. But you can’t criticize other landlords because they do differently. Actually you can but you have to recognize that everyone is different.Agree you owe people. But people also do stupid things. My niece moved recently from Washington DC and left her good job for a job in Ithaca to work for (what turned out to be) a half baked democratic candidate for office. Rented a apartment and actually sent me an email asking for a donation. A few weeks into it the candidate flakes and tells her he isn’t sure he wanted to run at all (he didn’t want to fund raise). So she goes back to the democratic party and they find her a job in PA for another candidate. However it’s her problem to find a renter for the apartment she leased. When she told me about the job it sounded like a sure thing ’18 months employment, effort backed by the DNC’. If she asked me I would have given her advice in advance to not get stuck but she didn’t want help.I think in business it’s not good to be on the extremes of the ‘dick scale’. To much in any direction is bad. And people tend to be more honorable when the money doesn’t matter as much. Once the money matters it’s every man for himself from what I have seen. People take advantage of the crisis to do things they need to do.

          2. PhilipSugar

            I agree with everything, but hiring people when you know you have an issue.You are dealing with people’s lives. Oh, it’s easy to abstract but it is a human’s life. That you will pay for in this world and the next. I believe that. If you know you are going to run out of money unless you raise money which you are not sure of you do not hire. Period. End of Statement.When we were in talks to sell I closed an open position because I didn’t want to hire somebody and then say……sorry I knew this wasn’t going to be what I described but I hired you because I really don’t care about you.Sure the people that worked for us had their situation changed but everybody was taken care of.You earn reputation by the eye dropper and lose it by the bucket. I’d never work for that guy. Never.

    2. fredwilson

      see my comment above. people are over reacting. which is understandable.

  4. Salt Shaker

    Bleeker Bob’s, Colony Records, The Bottom Line, CBGB’s, Fillmore East, Trax, Wetlands, Max’s Kansas City, The Palladium/Academy of Music, The Ritz, Continental, Mudd Club, Lone Star Cafe…. all gone.Each played an important role in NYC music discovery. How I loved to spend literally hours at a time rummaging through record bins and reading liner notes. Music discovery today seems stark, clinical and far less engaging and experiential. There’s less emotional connectivity between listeners, artists and venues. Sure, there still are many places to see live music in NYC, but very few are iconic–w/ the exception of The Bitter End, Irving Plaza, The Beacon, Blue Note, Village Vanguard–and their survival is hardly assured.What was….and what will never be. IMO the continued demise of these tangential institutions (stores and venues) are partial contributors to the instability/decline in the music industry. They delivered sensory experiences.Streaming models, w/ the exception of Spotify and maybe Apple, are all sucking wind financially (just look at Pandora, SoundCloud, Tidal). You Tube is kind of a diff animal not singlemindedly focused on music. It’s the wild west and imo no really, really good filters and discovery systems have surfaced, let alone solid, sustainable biz models.

  5. BillMcNeely

    looks like a fun documentary!

  6. awaldstein

    Love these pieces of the NY I grew up around.Ran into someone recently who asked me about the Psychedelicatessen on Ave A. That’s a true bit of East Village hippy history that I bet almost no one in this community had stepped in to. https://uploads.disquscdn.c

    1. Lawrence Brass

      Amazing. Could you really get high eating pastries there.. I mean people you knew then.. :)I guess the current store is not that same one.

      1. awaldstein

        Ha!First head shop in NY, lasted only two years.A bit of East Village/Tompkins Square/Fillmore East history.I was too young to be hanging out there.

    2. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Suddenly have urgent need for NYC in the ’70’s coffee table book…

    3. PhilipSugar

      I lived in NYC from 1989 to 1992 in the Liberty Towers Downtown, right where we could see the NYSE and the Bull. We had the left half of the second floor, you can see the bay windows at the bottom of the picture:… It was dead down (that really changed) there but my three roomates worked on Wall Street and I took the E train from World Trade Centers directly to 52nd and Madison.It amazes me how Alphabet City has changed. My brother told me to meet him at Supper at 2nd and A.… about 6 years ago.I said no way I have to catch a cab they don’t go there and I will have no chance to get back to Penn Station.Wow have things changed.I loved going to the Fulton Fish Market. I actually had an account.

      1. awaldstein

        Yup, long journey to now.My grandfather riding the subway telling me in yiddish which stops never to get off on.My first apartment on Ave A and 2nd–won’t share those stories.Been a good trip and it ain’t over!

  7. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I rented a *lot* of videos from Kim’s in the day 🙂 Of course, this makes me think of CBGB. I’m still not over being pissed off about CBGB. That and Theatre Row.Looks like a great project to back. May have to part with some cash on this one…

    1. PhilipSugar

      CBGB and the Romone’s. Oh those were good times.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        I didn’t have the good fortune to live in NYC during their era. But I went to CBGB a couple times as a pilgrimage of sorts in the 80’s.When I lived in NYC in the 90’s we were going to other spots (Knitting Factory comes to mind). And then suddenly CBGB was sold and torn down while I was living in SF. How was that not an historical landmark? Crazy. It’s like tearing down the Apollo or the Chelsea Hotel.

        1. PhilipSugar

          Did they tear it down? I know they closed it.

          1. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Oh I’m glad you asked because it seems I’m wrong!…I need to get down there and verify with my own eyes. I don’t know why I thought it was torn down. Guess I was being a drama llama about it!

          2. PhilipSugar

            It is a shame when they tear them down. There was this place in Delaware:…They got the best bands from Bruce Springsteen to Dave Matthews.The city of Newark HATED it. They put in all sorts of regulations. I know the owner and he put in literally a wall of doors because they put in a regulation about the number of fire doors per person. They put in a regulation about drink specials because he had a Thursday night bring in a huge mug and get a beer for $.50 (that actually was a problem because Friday mornings were a mess from a small group of people that could not handle that)When he sold out and they built condos they made them keep the front. So ironic. Fun fact: His wife (they were divorced) is now married to Joe Biden.This place still exists and I stay at a hotel right next to it at least once a month in MN. They write the names of the people that played there and it is a who’s who.

          3. PhilipSugar

            And I forgot to mention this place: https://www.bottleandcorkde…Two hours from NYC an you can hang on a really nice beach.

      2. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Did you see them play there?

        1. PhilipSugar


    2. PhilipSugar

      And Social Distortion.

  8. alliott

    Love this Fred. Thanks for posting. Will back too. Moved to NYC last year and sad I ll not get to experience this first hand.

  9. jason wright

    “KRAUT ROCK” – ?what goes a round comes around, and i personally think that the past will eventually become the old future.

  10. David Semeria

    The line about the employees, “bad ass guys – they don’t even like the things that they like” provoked what is for me very rare: a genuine laugh out loud.

  11. Drew Meyers

    Never been to the place & not personally huge into the music scene, but love the video they put together for the kickstarter.

  12. Distill

    As a teenager I would take the bus to NYC from Maine, often with the main purpose of listening to and buying music. Other Music was always a destination and for years I went there and discovered all kinds of great stuff, just listening and trying to chat up the staff. I was sad to see it go.

  13. fredwilson

    that is so not true. i can’t talk about it publicly. but trust me on this one.

  14. LE

    Employees are sometimes laid off in advance of a sale.

  15. jason wright

    frustrating position to be in.

  16. Other Music Doc

    Thanks for posting about our film– re: “Other Music” not being something you can create online, we’re not so sure we 100% agree. One topic of discussion in our film will be, how do we replicate physical communities like Other Music (or at least attempt to retain the best aspects of them) in the digital age? The world is changing and we don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing– neither do the visionary guys who founded Other Music in 1995 and had to make the tough decision to shut it down.Anyway, glad to see all this awesome discussion about the project and about the past, present and future of record stores. We wish all blog comments sections were as constructive and positive as this one!