In 2014, the New York venue Webster Hall -- a venerated, three-room, 40,000 square foot space in downtown Manhattan that's been in the night life game since 1886 -- underwent a change that may not have been noticeable to your average concertgoer: The building's contract with the company Bowery Presents, which was booking Webster's Grand Ballroom among other venues, expired, and Heath Miller, previously tasked with filling the 400-person Webster Studio, stepped into a role that required him to sell closer to 1,500 tickets a show.
"It was a scary undertaking," he tells Billboard. Not only because his workload experienced a sudden increase -- in the age of corporate conglomeration, Webster remains independently owned and operated. "I have a guy and his family that depends on Webster Hall to feed them," Miller says. "If I fuck up, this guy is going to not be able to live in the way he's accustomed to."
So far, so good: according to Miller, average ticket sales per show have increased, as have the number of shows per year (that, of course, means that total ticket sales are also up). As a result, when trade publication Pollstar released its annual ranking of ticket sales worldwide recently, Webster Hall had climbed from No. 11 to No. 3. And this year, the venue garnered a coveted nomination for Nightclub of the Year -- the first such nomination in the history of Webster.