Belle & Sebastian Considers Opening Up A Taqueria

from the now-there's-an-idea dept

We’re always interested in creative and new business model ideas involving using infinite goods to make scarce goods more valuable. So I have to admit I’m a bit intrigued by the (slightly tongue-in-cheek) claim by Stuart Murdoch of the popular band Belle & Sebastien that he’s considering opening a Belle & Sebastien taqueria in Glasgow. In an interview with Planet Money, in which he’s asked about any “backup career plans” he says:

I have some ideas that I might have to act upon. One of them is to open a taqueria in Glasgow. There’s no decent Mexican food in Glasgow. And I’ve had this idea for a while, to open a Belle & Sebastian taqueria. You’re laughing, but I’m about to get serious about this. Because this could be the thing that allows me to carry on doing music — to serve a decent taco.

And while my first reaction was to laugh as well, the more I think about it, the more curious I am about the idea of a musician also opening up a restaurant or cafe like this. Of course, the usual complainers in our comments will say that if they’re doing that then they’re running a restaurant, not “being musicians.” But, Murdoch seems to be suggesting that this is one way in which he can continue to be a musician. In fact, I would imagine that Belle & Sebastien fans would be willing to travel a long way, and spend a fair amount, to hang out at the Belle & Sebastien taqueria, and see the band hanging out/playing there as well.

Meanwhile, in terms of stuff the band is already doing, the band has created a neat contest to go along with their latest album release:

Album copies included a unique code to be entered at a website that asks the fan to write 300 words about love. From the submissions, the band will pick a winner, and Belle and Sebastian’s lead singer-songwriter Stuart Murdock will come to the winner’s town to hang out for an afternoon. Even more awesome is that Murdock will write a song about the winner which will be released on a special 7″ record next year!

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Comments on “Belle & Sebastian Considers Opening Up A Taqueria”

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djArrrrr (profile) says:

In Washington DC, Thievery Corporation has opened a small army of hip restaurants/bars. At Marvin, ( the music playlist is about half Thievery Music.

They also have the 18th Street Lounge, The Gibson, Patty Boom Boom and more.

It all started with ESL (18th Street Lounge), where they created a studio in the back rooms and started the ESL Music Label. To this day that is still one of the most popular bars in the city…after 18 years 🙂

Armin (user link) says:

Where does he suggest it will be a band themed restaurant?

May be I’ve missed something, but where does he suggest that (apart from the potential name) it will be a band themed restaurant? Where does he suggest the band will hang out in the restaurant (and/or play there)?

What happens while the band is touring or recording (and therefore not hanging out in the restaurant)? It closes? After all, why would anyone go if the main attraction of the restaurant isn’t there?

Apart from that I doubt the number of Taco loving Belle & Sebastian fans within reasonable travel distance from Glasgow is big enough to keep a restaurant in business, so he must make sure it appeals to others as well. Which in turn will make it less appealing for the hardcore Belle & Sebastian fan to travel far.

Sorry, this sounds just like a musician running some other business on the side to enable him to keep making music. That’s not exactly a new business model as far as I’m concerned. As already pointed out musicians have owned (or are owning) restaurant already, same as many probably own all other kinds of businesses or have supplemented their income with other activities.

Yogi says:


Considering that the collecting agencies are screwing over restaurants for playing music, this actually makes some sense – musicians opening their own venues where they and their friends can perform without being threatened by collection agencies.

I assume though that ACTA will outlaw playing original music without signing a slavery contract with a major label.But he still will have a restaurant to pay the bills. So there’s that..

a-dub (profile) says:

There was a time when professional baseball players actually held full time jobs.

Its great to see musicians using their success to start new ventures that will allow them to continue doing what they love. But what I find surprising is that it seems like he needs the restaurant in order to continue making music. I thought they would be making plenty of money by now.

Me! says:

Heh, this sounds like musician’s vengeance for having to work a string of crappy jobs to be able to make music. You’re either working for someone else at a restaurant to support your music, or you could own the restaurant.

I hope they mean that they would finance and open a restaurant, not run one. That in itself is at least a 60 hour a week workload for the first several years, probably without getting to cut yourself a paycheck. No time for music on that kind of schedule.

Tom Wozniak (profile) says:

Complimentary business

I agree with at least one of the comments that opening a bar or restaurant isn’t really a new business model for bands. But, it can definitely be a complimentary business model and an opportunity to interact with fans.

20 years ago, blues artist Buddy Guy opened a club called “Legends” in Chicago. It provided him with a revenue generating business outside of his music, but it also helped promote his music business. Some friends and I stopped by one night to check out a small local band that was playing. To our surprise, Buddy was in town and was hanging out at the club that night. He played an impromptu set and ended up joining us at our table for a few beers. He still owns the club today. Not sure if he spends a lot of time there these days, but the bar has certainly given him a great way to interact with fans in a very personal way. I know that I became a much bigger fan after having the chance to meet and hang out with him.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Re: Complimentary business

Off the top of my head, I can think of at least four Denver musicians (not famous ones) who own restaurants/bars locally. And former Bronco quarterback John Elway and former Bronco coach Mike Shanahan own restaurants here (neither is total owner and neither runs day-to-day operations).

For celebrities, putting a name on a restaurant is a way to extend the brand. For local musicians, sometimes it’s a way to create a venue to play in. Other times it’s a day job where you might have some previous background or skills.

Running a restaurant is hard work. For most people there are easier ways to make money and better forms of investment. Perhaps the simplest way for a celebrity to get involved is to get a licensing royalty for use of your name but not risk your own money or worry about keeping the place running.

JesseJ (profile) says:

Taqueria in Scotland

I love the “validation” of this. As a young lad, back in 1975 I made my first visit to the U.K. Lots of wonderful things, but it initially surprised me that most of the “English” folks were not in English restaurants. The English restaurants were full of tourists. The English customers were standing in line in the rain to get into the Indonesian restaurants! They were clearly trying to supplement their dining requirements with . . . spice. Being from southern California (at the time), I pondered the idea of setting up Mexican food restaurants in the U.K. to increase the variety. Glad to see someone else had this idea and might act on it! Jolly good.

Eric C (profile) says:

Funding, huh?

Well, if they need funding to create music, they could just go on tour in the US and charge 70 FREAKIN’ DOLLARS for tickets. Perhaps in September and October. Of this year. Hmmmm…..
(Admittedly, I’m just sad because I couldn’t afford to go. If they can sell the tickets, I guess they can charge however much they want. And I know indie bands don’t have to follow these rules, but $70 for a ticket is NOT punk rock.)

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

This might turn out to be worthy of its own Techdirt post

I knew Liz Clark awhile back when she was still living in Denver. Now she spends part of her time in NYC, part in Ireland (where her bandmate/partner is from), and part of the time on the road. According to their bio:

Liz and Tessa?s philosophy of simplicity manifests itself by spending part of their year as homeless troubadours, touring the USA and sharing their love of music. The rest of the year is spent in Ireland, working a 10 acre organic garden and running an award-winning cafe on the Emerald Island?s West Coast.

They have developed this idea which is a nice variation on the usual house concert.

… we are starting a new concert series to raise money for the album and we are calling it “Beat Roots”. It is going to be a food and music series. … So the idea is that we, L & the M, will come to your house and cook a 3 course gourmet meal for you and your friends, using the finest produce from your locality and while you are eating your dessert we will treat you to an acousic house concert of our L & the M songs. There is a price of course and for the works (which includes a glass of wine or 2) it is $50 a head but we are flexible. Maybe you just want appetizers and wine and we could probably do that for about $30. “Beat Roots,” Lonely and the Moose, 10/23/10.

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