Makes, a veteran of more than 30 years in the business, is returning to his roots and says he is “looking to redefine what it means to be a 21st century music company” and is building his new company “from the ground up,” from his current home in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
“After having a front row seat to everything that was happening in the corporate concert promotion world, I really felt now was the right time to leave Live Nation to do this,” Makes said in a statement.
Makes got his start in the business with his own company, Mission Concerts, which he started in Toledo, Ohio, before joining what is now AEG Presents in its St. Louis office. A New York City native, he later returned home to work for Bowery Presents and returned to AEG before deciding to join Live Nation. With the opening of Brooklyn Made, he comes full circle.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic has the industry at a standstill, he sees it as a time of opportunity. Makes says he will take the next several months to get his business operations organized and be ready to hit the ground running when it is safe to do so. A longtime talent buyer for the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, N.Y., and Constellation Brands -- Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center (CMAC) in Canandaigua, N.Y., he has struck deals to continue to book those venues, as well as open rooms such as Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center, Radio City Music Hall, Beacon Theatre, Town Hall, Hammerstein Ballroom, The Apollo Theater, Carnegie Hall and many others.
Makes is acutely aware that th New York market is a highly competitive one. But he believes Brooklyn Made will offer an alternative to major promoters that have consolidated much of the business at the club and theater levels.
“Even with AEG and Live Nation, there’s still a big space for an independent promoter to build up a new rock ‘n’ roll venue and give agents an opportunity to work with somebody besides AEG and Live Nation,” Makes tells Pollstar.
“Managers and agents are looking for something fresh, and I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback and I’ve got great venues. I’m working with the best of the best in the Northeast and it doesn’t get better than the Capitol Theatre, and CMAC is a gem. To be clear, I’ll be working with venues a lot and having the relationships (with Capitol Theatre owner Peter Shapiro and others) helped.”
Makes says he came to the conclusion to leave Live Nation and go it alone in part because of the long relationships and support of CMAC, which he has programmed for 13 years, and Capitol Theatre (9 years), and the knowledge he could continue to work with them.
“Those venues are ones I cherish and are like family, which is really stabilizing force during this time, and between furloughs and cost-cutting measures it does feel like a good time.
“I always wanted to go back to being an independent concert promoter.”
Acknowledging his own “rags to riches” story, Makes adds “I came from Ohio and built that company from scratch and took my own risk, with small clubs in the Ohio and MIchigan region, to the theatres and arenas. It’s been the American Dream.”