Like any savvy businessman, Sascha Guttfreund took advantage of an opportune market and reliable demographic to jumpstart his vision. His promotions company, ScoreMore, brings hip hop acts to Austin.
“I started ScoreMore because I thought hip hop fans weren’t really being serviced down here in Austin,” Guttfreund says. So he took a leap, threw some parties, and quickly established Austin as a definitive tour stop for hip hop artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore, Big Sean, Mobb Deep and J. Cole.
“I first knew ScoreMore could be a reliable company when J. Cole came offstage and held his face in his hands, crying,” Guttfreund says. “And J. Cole is just bawling, saying, ‘Man, I can’t believe all these kids in Texas are screaming all the lyrics to my songs, like they’ve been listening to me for years.’”
Getting to that point hasn't been easy. Guttfreund has experienced firsthand the difficulties of starting a company: establishing legitimate connections, garnering a good support system, gathering a reliable street team.
“When we first started ScoreMore, one of the biggest difficulties we had was solidifying ourselves as a reliable promotions company to booking agents,” he says. “When you’re a booking agent based out of New York or LA, you don’t have the time to supervise every single show, so it was hard to get agents to trust me to deliver a good experience for the artist — it takes a leap of faith.”
Yet, within three years, he is already writing big checks to booking agents and building a national presence. And the rappers call him by his first name. “We’ve been throwing shows in Louisiana, and signs show that growing into a national scope could possibly happen,” he says. “More and more booking agents are already reaching out as we grow.”
Whereas big promoters like C3 Presents bring the dependable mainstream headliners to town, ScoreMore takes risks on artists considered to be the next big thing. ScoreMore took on Kendrick Lamar before he became the next hot emcee with good kid m.A.A.d city, as well as Macklemore and Ryan Lewis before they became the radio-friendly “Thrift Shop” duo.
The company's from-the-ground-up marketing approach has resulted in sellout shows for burgeoning artists and old-school rappers alike. “We were always focused on promoting shows via grassroots means and utilizing the college demographic,” Guttfreund says. “We usually spend three weeks promoting on Twitter, Facebook and street team before we go to the radio.”
Through hard work and ScoreMore’s success, Guttfreund has been lucky enough to support himself and call this his full-time job. Yet he humbly speaks of himself, lamenting that none of this could be possible without his street team, co-founders and the large college demographic.
“Never start a business alone,” he says. “It takes a collective effort.”