Live Nation Acquires ScoreMore Shows; Austin-based Promoter Produces JMBLYA, Mala Luna Festivals
Live Nation has acquired a majority stake in Austin-based concert promoter and festival producer ScoreMore Shows, which produces the JMBLYA and Mala Luna festivals and hundreds of hip-hop concerts per year.
Co-founded by Sascha Stone Guttfreund and Claire Bogle in 2010, the company has become known as a tastemaker, especially in the hip-hop space, booking now-stars like J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar before they were arena headliners. That loyalty has carried over, with ScoreMore promoting a 13-date under-play tour for J. Cole last year and now producing J. Cole’s own Dreamville festival in North Carolina this September.
“Our style was different. We took really good care of the artists,” Guttfreund told Pollstar previously. “It was all about hospitality and we made sure they had a great experience. The artists also appreciated we were really passionate about the music.”
ScoreMore Shows routes tours through the Southwest U.S., producing more than 200 club shows per year, as well as Texas festivals JMBLYA, Mala Luna Music Festival, and has a partnership in Neon Desert Music Festival.
“We started ScoreMore as teenagers and friends simply booking the artists we loved and believed in,” Guttfreund said in a statement. “Our success is the by-product of a talented team of like-minded individuals working together to build something special. ScoreMore has been very fortunate over the years in having many clients and partners who have been and continue to be loyal to us. Most importantly, we would not be where we are today without our incredible fans in the state of Texas and beyond who have continued to support our events for nearly a decade.
“We are so excited about this new chapter for ScoreMore in having the resources, support and partnership of Live Nation. To have gotten our start in Austin, and ultimately be in business together with Live Nation is honestly a dream come true. This team does not take any of our success for granted, and we’d like to especially thank Michael, Bob, Jordan and the rest of the Live Nation family for giving us this incredible opportunity.”
Live Nation counts more than 100 festivals worldwide in its portfolio, including Governor’s Ball, BottleRock and Bonnaroo, to premier European festivals such as Download and Reading & Leeds, as well as new international additions like Australia’s Splendour In The Grass and South America’s Rock in Rio.
Live Nation also owns a majority stake in Austin-based C3 Presents, which produces Austin City Limits Music Festival as well as the mammoth Lollapalooza in Chicago.
Last year in a profile on ScoreMore Shows, Guttfreund told Pollstar of his early days as a promoter, trying to secure a venue for a concert by “Because I Got High” singer Afroman.
“So finally this one venue was willing to get us Mother’s Day,” Guttfreund said. “His attitude was like, well if people show up, great, and if nobody does, well it’s Mother’s Day and we weren’t going to make money anyway.”
“We sold between 400 and 500 tickets,” Guttfreund said. “The person who owned the venue was like, ‘Holy shit! Whoa!’ and asked me to be the talent buyer. I said, ‘Look I don’t know what that means.’”
Still not even 30 years old yet, Guttfreund participated at Pollstar Live! in February, speaking on a panel discussion about artist development and current tastemakers in the concert business.
ScoreMore has also taken on artist management for rappers Tory Lanez and newcomer Trill Sammy, although that is not part of the Live Nation deal.
“Sascha and the ScoreMore team have a proven ability to form very early and long-lasting relationships with top talent, and their groundbreaking events, whether an intimate club show or a giant festival, really resonate with a diverse and passionate audience base, as well as with the leading artists that they present,” said Bob Roux, President, Live Nation U.S. Concerts.
“This company is just getting started, and we are all very excited about their future, as we know what they are going to accomplish even greater things as part of the Live Nation family.”
The major promotion companies continue to show interest in independent festivals, as well-run events with a purpose and defined fanbase show swift growth.
This year’s JMBLYA expanded to a third market by adding a Dallas date, with the other two at Austin and Houston, headlined by J. Cole, Migos, Young Thug and T.I., May 4-6. The festival attracted more than 80,000 attendees in 2018 according to the company, a more than 60 percent increase from just the previous year as it returned to Houston after a five-year hiatus. The festival began as a combination of hip-hop and dance music in 2013.
This year’s Mala Luna in San Antonio lineup has not been announced yet, but 2017 featured Future, Migos, Lil Wayne and Wiz Khalifa among others. Debuting in 2016, Mala Luna has grown to become the largest annual music event in San Antonio, according to the company. Last year’s event saw 50,000 total attendees across two sold-out days during Halloween weekend, which nearly doubled the total number of attendees from its inaugural year.
Neon Desert Music Festival hosted more than 30,000 attendees at the 2018 event over Memorial Weekend in El Paso, Texas. It takes pride in being one of the first major US music festivals to emphasize booking mainstream American acts alongside acclaimed international and Latin performers since inception in 2011.
Live Nation has also shown interest in continued international expansion in the festival space, with today’s announcement of the launch of Lollapalooza Stockholm with C3 Presents and Swedish partner Luger.
Live Nation earlier this year acquired longtime Midwest indie promoter Frank Productions, led by Larry and Fred Frank, which included promoter NS2 Shows in Nashville and and Cmoore Live in Boise along with its venues including the new The Sylvee in Madison, Wis.