Famed music studio hits right note with move to Times Square
JSM Music, considered by many to be the world’s leading commercial music production studio, is leaving a 7,200-square-foot space downtown for a 10,500-square-foot penthouse near Times Square.
Although small in size, the just-signed deal punches above its weight class in symbolism, creative relevance and sentiment.
JSM — winner of countless Grammys, Cleos and other industry honors — composed the music for seven Super Bowl commercials this year, including WPP agency Wunderman Thompson’s ad for Hellman Mayonnaise with Jon Hamm and Brie Larson.
It is widely said that creative and media firms do not require as many employees in offices as financial and law firms. Don’t creators get bored if they’re not working from home, where they connect with bosses and colleagues between health-food snacks and dog walks?
But hear JSM founder and CEO Joel Simon talk about the imperative of in-person, face-to-face collaboration in the field he’s a master at:
“Everything I loved about Zoom at the beginning of the pandemic I hate now,” said Simon. “Instead of having a simple conversation, or ‘Hey, let’s talk,’ it was all about a presentation.”
“Bringing in our outside talent and having clients on site couldn’t come soon enough for me. Being together and sharing ideas is so important.”
“This is where the magic happens. To make something. You never know when brilliance will strike you. There is no alternative.”
JSM moved into 30 Broad Street about six years ago. Simon recalled that “before the city had even said so” his team returned to the studio with gusto. But it has recently become a period of change when the jackhammering of external facade work provides a less than ideal backdrop for making and recording commercial music.
When Simon posted photos of a recent JSM move-out on social media, “People asked me, OMG – are you going remote? You’ll save so much money!” or, “Are you going to Miami?” he recalled with a laugh.
No, he explained. They were heading to Midtown, steps away from the bright lights of Broadway and the city’s most famous entertainment district.
A JLL team led by Brett Harvey and Zachary Azus represented JSM Music in the lease. Landlord APF Properties was repped by John Ryan III and Rachel Rosenfeld of Avison Young. Neither Simon nor the broker would discuss lease terms but a source said rents were in the mid-$70s per square foot.
JSM will use its new Uptown digs for commercial music composition, recording, production, post-production and sound design.
The penthouse has 20-foot-high ceilings and large outdoor terraces, but the neighborhood appeal was just as strong. Simon’s staff of thirty was 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’s is a particular favorite.
“I like dinner,” he said. “There was no good one near our old studio. When I moved here, the first thing I went to see was the diner across the street.
It is 67 w. At 44th is the ever-popular Red Flame — also a Reality Check favorite.