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Rap Capitalism

ScoreMore is the successful byproduct of booking agents Sascha Stone Guttfreund and Claire Bogle trying to deliver the acts they wanted to see.

New York's Peter Oasis, who since 1997 has run New York's LiveNDirect, a company that promotes and books concerts, as well as manages several music acts (and, incidentally, has since teamed with AEG Live), followed a similar Do Something That Nobody's Doing template with niche DJ nights early on.

"What they've [ScoreMore] done isn't easy," says Oasis, who first learned about ScoreMore when it booked one of the acts he used to manage. "Booking and promoting shows isn't guaranteed. It's not uncommon to hear stories about people getting an inheritance or coming into some money and thinking it's an easy way to double their money. Many times, that's not the case. It's real work."
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This month, Wale will find out if he's won a Grammy for Best Rap Song ("Lotus Flower Bomb"). Before that though, he wanted to go to the Super Bowl, so his team called ScoreMore.

ScoreMore booked Kendrick Lamar's first tour outside his home state of California long before he was rap's biggest new name.
Photo by Marco Torres
ScoreMore booked Kendrick Lamar's first tour outside his home state of California long before he was rap's biggest new name.
ScoreMore booked J. Cole's first tour, back before he began associating with acts such as Jay-Z, Drake and Missy Elliott.
Photo by Marco Torres
ScoreMore booked J. Cole's first tour, back before he began associating with acts such as Jay-Z, Drake and Missy Elliott.

"Wale said he wanted to go to the Super Bowl," explained Sascha at the end of December 2012. "He also said he wanted to make some money, so they called us and asked up to set up a little mini tour around the same time."

On January 14, press releases popped up on the Internet advertising that Wale was going on a tiny five-city tour between January 27 and February 1. At the top of the flyer, all caps: "SCOREMORE PRESENTS."

Guttfreund says they chased a Big Sean concert for "quite a while" before he agreed to one (beyond guaranteed monies, they offered travel expenses, food expenses, driver, etc.). Now these are the sorts of things that happen now almost willy-nilly.

Tonight, Guttfreund and Bogle are in Houston to hand out tickets to their team for sales. They are gathered around a large table near the back corner of Grand Lux Cafe near The Galleria. ScoreMore has more than a dozen people in Houston with whom they regularly work, but some are missing; their eight primaries, however, are all in attendance.

In person, it's easy to see how Guttfreund and Bogle have made ScoreMore so prosperous — for the aloofness of Guttfreund's disheveled hair and the lackadaisical strides that make up Bogle's gait, the twosome are an unforgivably smart, insightful pairing.

After ordering, they begin questioning the group, asking what everyone thought was done well in 2012 and what can be done better in 2013. When concerns are brought forward (communication with everyone isn't convenient enough; it's hard to move across all of Houston to sell tickets), they are addressed quickly and concretely (establish an email listserve; designate areas of the city to specific individuals). After that, they conduct a round robin question setting to see what new rap acts are popping up regularly so they can book them where they need to be booked. (A neat little trick: Guttfreund figured out how to use Facebook to tell which areas of the country a rapper has the densest population of fans. He uses that as one of the main indicators when establishing where to, and where not to, book an act. He asserts that ScoreMore earns money on more than 80 percent of its shows.)

Guttfreund and Bogle thank everyone for coming and for their thoughts, then they let everyone know that they'll be receiving pay increases in 2013. They pay for everyone's meal, and that's that. They don't discuss the deal they've just signed with Redbull — details: The energy drink company handpicked four tastemaker booking agencies to participate in an event called Sound Select where they'll join together to promote a few shows; ScoreMore was chosen.

They don't really discuss the extent to which their big Kendrick Lamar night was successful. They don't even discuss the upcoming changes ScoreMore's going to make in its business model. ("There is a new generation of electronic music and hip-hop," says Bogle. "They're going to mesh. It's inevitable. In the past five years, the radio has evolved. You used to have all these different categories. Now you basically have hip-hop, country and top 40. The worlds are colliding together, and we want to be the first to facilitate that experience.")

ScoreMore is growing bigger and stronger ­every day. Everyone understands that implicitly.
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The second Kendrick Lamar show is as rambunctious as the first. House of Blues is beyond full, and the crowd reacts exactly the same as the Warehouse Live version of itself did.

Guttfreund is a blur. His phone never stops buzzing. At one point, J. Prince's son, Jas Prince, calls, asking for tickets for dozens of people. He disappears into the back of the venue until the concert's over.

Out in the crowd, Guttfreund's father, an Oscar-winning filmmaker, watches the surroundings from the VIP area with pride. He talks about Sascha the way every proud father talks about his son, but he does so with a clear sense that his son isn't like most. (Papa Guttfreund is like a character drawn up for a movie. Everything he says is done so in a calm, entirely confident voice, so it all sounds amazing. On the car ride to the show, he discussed a variety of topics with a startling amount of insight, reaching from the filmmaking culture as it pertains to El Salvador to the validity of the multi-racial pop-rap group Chiddy Bang.)

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4 comments
blackmessiah9
blackmessiah9

Whites trying to steal Rap music from us blacks like they did Blues and Jazz....just fantastic

MattSonzala
MattSonzala

Great story on some great people! But its PETER Oasis! Not Paul Oasis and that's my man too!

mikemeegz
mikemeegz

STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM.... NOW WE HERE...


#SCOREMORE 


SCOREMORESHOWS.COM

Thomas Fawcett
Thomas Fawcett

Great story and a terrific piece of writing...kudos all around.

 
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