Who knew a project kicking off in a tiny North London flat would turn into a worldwide community?
Sofar Sounds launched in 2009 in response to the founders’ frustration with the traditional concert-going experience. “I was at a gig in London, and this amazing band was performing, yet I could hardly hear them!” Co-Founder Rafe Offer explained. “People were talking (and not about the music), and you could hear the clang of bottles at the bar and everywhere else. Others were buried in their smart phones. ‘This sucks. There has got to be a better way to enjoy live music, especially in smaller spaces,’ my friends Rocky and Dave and I kept saying to each other.”
And, as they say, the rest is history.
Sofar Sounds lets people experience live music in the comfort of someone’s living room. In major cities across the globe, it provides an intimate, focused setting for taking in music that’s unlike the crowded, loud, distraction-filled music venues we encounter on the reg.
There are two rules at every Sofar Sounds show: You can’t leave until it’s over, and you can’t talk. “All the distractions that go along with a typical concert experience are gone. You’re surrounded by people who are all at the shows for a specific reason: to discover and appreciate music,” said Chicago City Director Eric Muhlberger.
I can relate to the mission of Sofar Sounds far too well. It seems like every show I’m at these days, I’m fighting to connect with the artists performing because all I can hear are people having conversations around me. In my head, I’m like, If you wanted to talk, why didn’t you just go to a restaurant or a bar? Why are you here?!
Sofar Sounds gets and supports some of the best local talent. Some acts, like Bastille and Hozier, have gone on to become big names in popular music. My first encounter with Sofar Sounds was this past summer, and I wanted to go to every show since (but I know I should be unselfish and let others experience it too). Sofar has built their community through word of mouth: people who went to the first show told their friends, who told their friends, and you get the picture. Now, they’re the world’s largest live music discovery community! Pretty sweet, right?
“We create safe havens from the traditional music venue. Artists and fans can co-exist, and really share stories, and understand each other on a deeper level. The core of what we like artists and fans to take away from Sofar is respect for one another…this is how music should be treated and enjoyed,” said Sofar Community Manager Dean Davis.
With all live music comes audio gear. Sound quality is important to not only the listener, but also to the artists. “So much of the value of playing a Sofar show comes in the creation of the videos for our artists. Having high-quality recordings of the shows provides them a great opportunity to market themselves. When you think of quality audio recording equipment, Shure is top of mind. We strive to capture the magic of our events…and Shure helps get us as close to reliving the night-of as possible!” said Muhlberger.
Shure is super-excited to be teaming up with Sofar Sounds! Kicking off 2015 right!
See you at the next show…