Monday, July 5, 2010

An Open Letter to SCOPE

 I hope this letter finds you in good health. The other day SCOPE's facebook status asked for comedian suggestions. Right away several people requested Bob Marley. If that happened, I would probably blow my fucking brains out. I mean, he's been to UNH twice recently and is nowhere near the status of a homecoming comedian. However, as much as you may want to get a huge comedian it might be better to go lean towards the cheap side so SCOPE can land better music acts in the Spring. (Bottom line: Just about any comedian but Bob Marley.)

When all is said and done, more people will complain about a mediocre musician than a mediocre comedian. If SCOPE wants to please the most students, try to save some money on the homecoming comedian so more money can be spent on the spring shows.

Lets face it, SCOPE has taken a lot of heat in the past. No matter what happens next year, they will be praised and cursed out at the same time for all of their shows. It should be understood, especially after last year, that one musician cannot please the entire student body. The best way for SCOPE to please the biggest cross-section of students (this is not necessarily my preference, but what is probably better for the student body) is to book two spring shows. Have Spring Climax be a hip-hop artist in the Whit. This will sellout no matter who it is. For the other show, go for a band in the Field House. A true rock band would be awesome and would please the students who don't favor hip-hop. Remember, last year SCOPE had Bo Burnham, Akon, MGMT and Girl Talk. That is great variety. Comedy, hip-hop, pop/prog-rock, and hip-hop/dance. But, in order to make that potential "rock" show even better would be to have a solid opener. Last year MGMT was very good, but their opener was weak.

I know this is all just speculation, and it is easier said than done, but this is just a thought.

In that distant past SCOPE, MUSO and even WUNH would sometimes collaborate on the same show. All that I'm saying, is give peace a chance. Why does SCOPE and MUSO have to have this conflicting relationship? We are all UNH students, why can't we be friends?  What if SCOPE were to get a bigger band for a second show and MUSO was responsible for the opener? (I know MUSO is the Memorial Union Student Org, so I'm not sure if they're restricted to the MUB... maybe they could bend the 'rules'). This would help save SCOPE money and let MUSO use their money in a way to benefit more students. Of course that would take some ego swallowing, but it could help MUSO gain more respect, which they deserve. UNH could really have a true spring climax, if only these organizations would put all the bullshit aside and communicate with one another. If MUSO can't leave the MUB maybe they could have their big spring show the same weekend as SCOPE's climax. Just a thought. We are all adults, or at least age-wise we are, so act like it. I know there are a lot of "what ifs" in there, but just think of the possibilities.

Anyways, continue to enjoy your summer. 
Stay classy, not UMassy.


  1. As past WUNH DJ, I think it would be great to see all 3 collaborate on shows. It would also give them a greater budget to get someone perhaps bigger. MUSO and WUNH have been strictly about indie music in the past, but I know for a fact WUNH is trying to shake a bit of that image and be more open, and probably be willing to collaborate. Perhaps take the suggestion to their exec members?

  2. Here's why this is a good idea in theory but impractical. SCOPE spends about three or four times the combined WUNH and MUSO show budgets on almost every big concert. The way I was informed by a former MUSO business manager that they work is that they basically put their entire budget (or at least a sizable amount of it) on the line every time they lock down an artist and try to recoup it through ticket sales and continue their concert series, which is why everything on campus is generally free and SCOPE concerts are like $10+ dollars for students.

    So now, let's say for the sake of argument that they are collaborating to make a gigantic show. First, to get an opener worth having for a SCOPE sized show, MUSO will have to plunk down somewhere in the ballpark of $10000, easily, likely more. It cost me $8k to bring the Mountain Goats in March, and someone "indie" but "known", like Cursive, would cost over $20k, just to give an idea. Either way, I think it would end up with the same kind of situation as the Brand New show two years ago, where mewithoutYou opened: a lot of angry bro dudes exchanging homophobic slurs because they're unable to properly process something that doesn't sound like Wonderwall. In my opinion, in that way alone, it wouldn't be worth MUSO and WUNH's money.

    Let's even ignore that for a second and say that everything's being collaborated. SCOPE has put up $80k, MUSO $11k, and WUNH $1k (correct me if I'm wrong, WUNHers, but last I knew that figure was about your entire show budget, no offense or anything intended if it's larger). The show goes well, selling 4000 tickets, and it makes roughly $50000 for the orgs to put towards their revenue line. If we assume that they divide that up by the percentage of money they put into the show, MUSO at 12%, WUNH at 1%, which is roughly $6k for MUSO and $500 for WUNH, and SCOPE takes the rest.

    Everyone's come out with about half of what they've invested, which in general isn't bad, until you consider that MUSO has a revenue line as an org and not divided into its three parts of MUSO Music, Movies, and Lectures (the latter two having been a black hole of MUSO money lately). Now having fulfilled general revenue, MUSO is only allowed to reuse $3-4k of their original $11k, when they could have spent the same money for a show that would have handily filled the GSR, made them a decent chunk of change and allowed them to operate by their own prerogatives and ideals and reap many benefits as an org, like a reputation boost as well as the money. Additionally, we've seen SCOPE sell out the Whit before, several times. They don't need anyone's help to do it, least of all a bunch of disaffected indie kids, and to have more hands in the pot would only lose them that revenue money they need to keep providing entertainment. I'm not sure how this would affect WUNH though.

    And that's just the money talking. Then there's the SAFO bylaws and Org Concepts (which SAFC is super anal about) and different contracts for the same show floating around with separate orgs and the inevitability of people stepping on each others' toes. It's just not plausible. Having a Spring Climax weekend isn't a half bad idea, but then MUSO has to try and advertise over SCOPE, which is tough. Especially since fucking MUSO kids barely do anything these days anyway.


  3. Thanks for the detailed comment, Tim. I know that it is just an idea, and 99% unlikely, but again just a thought... I think a weekend with a MUSO show one night and a SCOPE show another night might be worth a shot... but it would take a combined advertising effort (even something small like one poster for the weekend and not two separate ones for each show) again, I don't know the guidelines and wheelings and dealings of these orgs, just an outside thought...

    I know collaborations had been done in the past a few times when SCOPE would have a Granite State Room concert series with smaller acts, which might be cool for them to try again and easier to pull off... but at the same time it might not be worth it to spend money on smaller acts.

  4. I'm just keeping it real. Real verbose.

  5. SCOPE executive director here-
    I'd love to collaborate, it's just a matter of time, money, situation and willingness of other organizations.

  6. I think a very underrated performer last year was Mike Posner who opened for Akon.

    Sure the guy is small but has since grown to to have 2 singles reach the top 25 tracks bought on iTunes and Rhapsody