The Starlight Room: A Moonshot Made Real

One of the newest venues in the West Michigan music scene, The Starlight Room, combines a listening room experience with state-of-the-art video and audio recording.

“We believe we are completely unique,” Starlight Room Owner/Operater Dan Beckett told Revue. “There is no place in Michigan, if not the entire Midwest, that provides what we provide for artists.”

Providing performers and audiences alike with the intimacy of a listening room experience, The Starlight Room—4765 Airline Rd., Muskegon—also offers multi-camera video capture, and up to 32 tracks of digital audio capture, with complete turnkey post-production services, enabling artists to get a full concert recording with a live audience in the room, while also having the ability to livestream to digital platforms.

“As for patrons, our goal from the outset was to transport them to a different time and place,” Beckett said. “Working with our marketing and interior design partners, we have created an experience unlike any other in the state. You simply have to experience firsthand what it’s like to walk in from a blazingly bright West Michigan summer day into an ‘indoor but outdoor’ experience that we’ve created. Our lobby features star-fields illuminating an incredible gallery of fine art on all four walls. And entering the room is almost like attending a concert in your friends’ backyard. Starlight over the stage, and no seat more than 20 feet from the performer.”

Explaining how The Starlight Room went from “napkin to reality” in less than 11 months, Beckett said that he and co-founder Larry Decker came up with the concept of mashing up a listening room and a recording studio in July 2022. They acquired their space in January 2023, began building it out in March, and held their first public event in May 2023.

“The venue is situated in a former church, so there was virtually no ‘build-out’ required, it was essentially just a matter of decorating and moving existing recording studio capabilities into the space,” Beckett said.

They also have the ability to redefine The Starlight Room into numerous formats, from standing room only, to conventional seating for 150 patrons, to a cocktail lounge experience with premium four-top reserved seating, to their pin-drop acoustic “in the round” configuration where seats are arranged 360 degrees around the performer, set up in the exact center of the room. 

“There are lots of great, historic venues in Michigan, but nothing quite like the experience we’ve created,” Beckett said. 

Staffing at The Starlight Room also works on a unique, customizable model, as they focus on facilitating entrepreneurs. 

“Rather than the cumbersome process of recruiting, screening, hiring, and training employees, we sought out established and aspiring entrepreneurs with whom to partner,” Beckett said. “All of our ‘crew’ are businesspeople in their own right. We simply facilitated and enabled them to expand their existing business plans by partnering with us. Every single entrepreneur on our crew came to us by referral, and this approach has thus far been hugely successful. We’ve had zero turnover, and the team is incredibly talented, committed, and motivated.”

Partnering with Grand Rapids videography company Dogtown Studios, The Starlight Room expanded both businesses’ vision by immediately offering top tier video capabilities in an ideal environment. 

Describing their business as “creator first” and “genre inclusive,” The Starlight Room centers their focus on artists who perform their own compositions, while not strictly adhering to just singer-songwriters as they feel all styles of music deserve to be heard in an intimate venue where the audience is engaged in a meaningful way. 

“Our number one customer is the artist,” Beckett said. “We have cultivated a model where they are the customer, and we facilitate an environment where they, in turn, can provide the most amazing performance to their customers: the patrons. Of course, we do everything we can to cultivate an amazing experience for patrons too, but our number one goal is to cater to and provide the most amazing hospitality we can to the artists who grace our stage.”

The Starlight Room has three predominant business models. Their concert series, where they book and promote the artist, like most conventional venues, offering compensation incentives based on a percentage of ticket sales capacity, as well as the opportunity to purchase video and audio recording packages. 

They also offer a rental model, where artists can rent the space like a conventional studio, while still taking advantage of selling tickets to an audience. 

In addition they offer a fundraising model, focused on schools and private music instruction, where 100 percent of the proceeds go into the music program after covering their nominal stage fee.

“We partnered with MusicEveryday, a private music instruction establishment in Spring Lake, and held our first enhanced recital for them in June,” Beckett said. “We had over 200 parents and family members attend three recitals on a Saturday. It was tremendous.”

Lastly, Beckett said The Starlight Room wants to get the word out about their “Truth in Ticketing” policy. 

“What we mean by this is that the price we advertise for tickets is the price paid. Period,” he said. “No fees. No surcharges. No taxes. No nonsense. Also, parking is always free. Our ticket prices are exceptionally reasonable, particularly considering the unique, intimate experience we create for artist and audience alike. We also want to encourage your readers to subscribe to our email list. It really is the best way to stay abreast of what’s coming, including opportunities for advanced ticket access, special promotions, like buy one get one discounts and more.”

In October, The Starlight Room will host Grand Haven bluegrass outfit Full Cord on Oct. 6, Kanin Wren’s Taylor Swift Experience Oct. 14, Grand Rapids blues/rock band Deerfield Run Oct. 21, and Grand Rapids funk group Melophobix Oct. 28.

The Starlight Room
4765 Airline Rd, Muskegon