Since speaking with us last December, Dave Silver and Will Toms of REC Philly have steadily unraveled what is set to become a fixture in the Philadelphia music scene. And they’re just getting started.
Silver and Toms, both 24, got their start booking music acts during college. For the duo who became best friends in high school, it wasn’t long before frat house basement shows turned into gigs at local hookah lounges and bars. Not only were the two able to book the acts, but they were also filling the rooms they were booking, earning a favorable reputation amongst artists and hosting venues alike. It was only natural that the next progression was to form Broad Street Music, a booking and promotion company with an emphasis on local up-and-comers.
Silver and Toms have since opened “REC Philly,” a company designed to be an all-encompassing resource for aspiring musicians and artists. This “music incubator” seeks to package and provide everything an up-and-coming artist may need, from recording availability to digital media access to booking opportunities.
The model is new, but it has gained significant exposure in recent months, starting with a showcase at the South by Southwest Festival in March. It was in Austin that the group was able to feature both their company as well as a multitude of Philadelphia artists on a national level in what was called the “Philly SXSW Showcase.”
The company traveled to the festival with a convoy of Philadelphia talent and was able to thrust over 25 local artists such as tunji, Chill Moody, and Joie Kathos into the national spotlight, all while exposing the REC Philly brand to one of the music industry’s most iconic events. Though a big stage, they were ready. “The trip was incredible,” said David Silver. “We felt a lot of pressure representing the city at SXSW but it all went even better than expected. We saw a sold out concert come to life.”
After their successful showcase in Austin, the duo was no longer seen as just two kids who talk a big game. They’re now genuine players in the Philadelphia music scene. “Coming back was an amazing feeling,” said Silver. “People looked at us as legitimate and we gained the trust of others. People who I’ve respected for so long in the music industry are now knocking on our door.” Some of those knocking include Milkboy Studios, the Philadelphia Film Office, and Bipolar Media, all of whom REC Philly now partner with. The group’s success in Austin helped increase their amount of corporate partnerships from 20 to 40, and these partnerships will benefit the music careers of their clients in diverse and efficient ways.
Coinciding with REC Philly’s return from Texas was the unveiling of a membership program. Providing musicians with an alternative to the more traditional record-label route, REC Philly’s membership model is designed to give artists an all-encompassing program in which a multitude of services are provided for a monthly fee. With a membership comes complete access to REC Philly’s facility, which contains two brand new recording studios (the “RECRooms”), a visual lab, and a performance studio. Additionally, members will take advantage of resources provided by the company’s corporate partners, everything from photographers to session musicians to graphic designers. Silver and Toms tailor the services to each individual artist, giving their clients the resources necessary to build their careers as artists and businesses.
The membership program began on April 1 and REC Philly has already received over 100 applications from local musicians. Their first member was Dave Patten, a local artist who has appeared on tracks with Meek Mill. The number of members is set to increase to six this month, and joining will be acts such as Luke O’Brien and Hard Work Movement.
Silver and Toms have since opened “REC Philly,” a subset of Broad Street Music Group that is designed to be an all-encompassing resource for aspiring musicians and artists. This “music incubator” seeks to package and provide everything an up-and-coming artist may need, from recording availability to digital media access to booking opportunities.
From there, expansion will depend on how they do with their first members. “We didn’t want to have six members before knowing how to have one the right way,” said Silver. “We wanted to learn to do it right, and we want to serve every artist and give them all the attention and education they deserve. We don’t want someone to join and then feel like they’re not getting taken care of.”
Moving forward, REC Philly hopes to add more of a membership base and expose local talent on bigger and better stages. While SXSW has been a huge feat for the company, they’re not content with stopping there. “We’re thrilled with what we’ve done at SXSW,” said Silver, “but we also want to know: How can we leverage this for other conferences?”
The company also hopes to extend its reach and infiltrate more of the music scene, but they’re making sure they do it the right way. Though their early group of members will be made up of mainly hip-hop and R&B artists, they don’t want to limit themselves to one particular genre moving forward. “Our goal is to help musicians across the board,” said Silver. Silver and Toms know that the music industry—like so many others—has been wildly disrupted. They seek to fill a new need as a result, by serving as a logical alternative to signing with a major record label for aspiring artists.
But they’re not giving up on doing shows, either. Next up for REC Philly: A show at the Trocadero to benefit veterans during the Democratic National Convention with MusiCorps, a program that teaches or reteaches wounded vets to play music. In addition to MusiCorps, performers include Dilemma and World Town Sound Systems.Photo Header: Artist performing at June's Kickback Festival