JSM Music, regarded by many as the world’s pre-eminent 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 high above its weight class in symbolism, creative relevance and emotion.
JSM — winner of innumerable Grammys, Clios and other industry honors — produced the music for seven of this year’s Super Bowl commercials, including WPP Agency Wunderman Thompson’s ad for Hellman’s mayonnaise with Jon Hamm and Brie Larson.
It’s widely said that creative and media firms don’t need to have as many employees in offices as do financial and law firms. Don’t the creatives get antsy if they’re not working from home, where they connect with bosses and colleagues between health-food snacks and dog walks?
But listen to JSM founder and CEO Joel Simon on the indispensability of in-person, face-to-face collaboration in the field of which he’s a master:
“Everything I loved about Zoom at the beginning of the pandemic is everything I hate right now,” Simon said. “Instead of having a normal conversation, or ‘hey, just come over and let’s talk,’ everything was about a presentation.”
“Bringing in all our outside talent and having clients on the site could not come soon enough for me. It’s so important to be together and share ideas.”
“That is where the magic happens. To make something out of nothing. You never know when the brilliance is going to hit you. There is no substitute.”
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 recalled. But it recently became time for a change when jackhammering from exterior facade work provided a less than ideal backdrop for creating and recording commercial music.
When Simon posted photos of the recent JSM move-out on social media, “People asked me, OMG — are you going remote? You’ll save so much money!” Or, “Are you moving to Miami” he recalled with a laugh.
No, he explained. They were going to Midtown, a few steps from Broadway’s bright lights and the city’s most fabled entertainment district.
A JLL team led by Brett Harvey and Zachary Azus represented JSM Music in the lease. Landlord APF Properties was repped by Avison Young’s John Ryan III and Rachel Rosenfeld. Neither Simon nor the brokers would discuss lease terms but a source said the asking rent was 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 boasts 20-foot-high ceilings and large outdoor terraces, but the neighborhood’s appeal was just as strong. Simon’s staff of thirty 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 favorite.
“I love diners,” he said. “There wasn’t a good one near our old studio. When I came up here, the first thing I went to look at was the diner across the street.”
That’s the ever-popular Red Flame at 67 W. 44th — which happens to be Realty Check’s favorite as well.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.