As band managers, Tim Luckow and his team will do pretty much anything the bands they work with need, such as show-booking, marketing, tour scheduling, album artwork, getting merchandise and more. Right now, they’re expanding their brand to cover a wider range of specialties like creative consulting and helping out with album releases.
G-House Management is a Boston-based music management and creative consultant company run by seven young multitaskers. Tim Luckow, a 2010 Berklee College of Music graduate founded the company in October 2008.
“It’s definitely a partnership. … We don’t baby the bands, the bands do a lot of the work themselves,” Luckow said.
Helping bands to release records is one of the new projects for G-House, they won’t be signing bands in the sense of a traditional record label, but instead they will be assisting the musicians and providing support as they record and release independent albums as unsigned artists.
“We’re moving into all sorts of different things,” Luckow said. “We’re about to start putting out records. Not as a record label, but putting them out as G-House with the artist. It’s a little bit different, we’re not signing the groups, just kind of establishing partnership with them.”
Doing creative consulting is also allowing G-house to branch out; the company took on this role just a few weeks ago.
“We’ve found that we can work with a lot more bands by doing consulting,” Luckow said. “That’s really cool because it opens the doors for us to work with anyone.”
One band G-House does a lot of creative consulting for is the Boston-based Bad Rabbits, a soul and R&B group.
MacLasco said they first started doing consulting as they were getting ready to attend the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin, Texas, last month with the bands they manage, as well as many other Boston bands they’ve worked with.
G-House booked three nights of music at the Austin Museum of Art to showcase the musicians they work with at a series of “Boston Family Dinner” events, which were named after an important part of the company’s operation – eating together for meetings and enjoying delicious food.
The G-House staff, especially Luckow, are serious foodies who believe putting high-quality, healthy food into their bodies helps them put out better work. They’re starting to expand their creative consulting into the realm of restaurants. They want to help local eateries with branding, marketing and design.
“We can go to these restaurants and we say, ‘We want to help you get the word out,’” MacLasco said. “Basically, we’re kind of acting as promoters for the restaurants. We can help them get their social media going.”
Social media sites play a huge role in the G-House company for everything the team does. G-House uses Facebook to market the bands they manage by creating fan pages, events and Facebook ads. Luckow said Facebook is the best way to advertise, distribute music and gain fans.
“A lot of what we do is centered around Facebook ads,” MacLasco said. “And we run a lot of ad campaigns for our artists and for G-House itself. It’s amazing because you can just check off a box. … Say you want to target people in the UK who like the smashing pumpkins. It’ll tell you how many people that you’re gonna reach with that ad on the sidebar. They can track down the exact number, it’s amazing.”
Ryan Bambery, who works primarily on writing and artwork for the company, said they pay very close attention to detail when doing the writing for ads, Facebook statuses, artist bios and other information they distribute using social media.
“Every word is completely thought out,” Bambery said. “We’re very particular about the branding we put out. We want to be a company that we would go to.”
“When people click on the ads and they like what they see, they’ll click ‘like’ and that’s one more person that we can reach,” MacLasco said. “All their friends will see that they clicked ‘like.’ It just leads to more people clicking ‘like’ and name recognition.”
Luckow said Facebook is essentially like an advanced e-mail list – it’s a way to let people know what the company and the bands are up to, and helps them continue to connect with more and more people.
Luckow credits the now-closed underground venue Wadzilla Mansion with helping many of the bands get started.
“Wadzilla was a magical, magical place and was the most incredible thing that ever could have happened for us,” Luckow said. “If we didn’t have Wadzilla, half of our artists wouldn’t have developed the way that they did and gained a lot of the fans that they have. … We’re kind of taking its closing as a sign that like its time to go legit and go big with it.”
Shortly after Wadzilla Mansion closed its doors as a venue, most of the G-House bands went on tour for SXSW. The G-House team has a common goal of getting the bands they work with to play shows to thousands of people, gain respect and acclaim and even get on MTV.
“We started the G-House Facebook page in January to put our name out there,” Luckow said. “We put the Bad Rabbits show [at Wadzilla Mansion] out under our name. G-House was the creator, it drove a lot of traffic to our site.”
Currently, they’re planning for some bigger music festivals in Boston in the coming months. The G-House staff use several new media tools, alongside Facebook, to help spread the word about the bands they work with.
“We only put out things that we would want to buy or that we would want to go see,” said Shanna MacLasco, a senior music industry major at Northeastern who works on public relations, among other things for G-House. “I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we don’t work with an artist unless we’re all obsessed with them and love their music.”
G-House bands use the music distribution platform Bandcamp to release their recordings. Luckow said Bandcamp is great because it’s easily embeddable into Facebook pages, so when people go to the bands’ profiles, they can easily click to listen to the songs from Bandcamp pages right there on Facebook.
Another perk of the Bandcamp site is that when people download from it, the metadata imports onto their computer or device, so album artwork stays perfectly intact, along with song names, and other items from band’s pages like song lyrics.
Luckow was featured in Billboard Magazine about G-House’s use of Bandcamp when he responded to a tweet by a Billboard editor who was asking the public about how they felt about Bandcamp and download cards.
Bandcamp offers a download card service that allows bands to print download cards with unique codes and give them away or sell them at shows.
Most recently, G-House ordered download cards for the band Grass is Green from a company called Botanical Paperworks. The cards were printed on paper that contains plant seeds so the music can be grown into wildflowers after the code is redeemed online.
“I think download cards are awesome, because CDs are stupid,” Bambery said. “Nobody has a Discman anymore, everyone has iPods and iPhones. … When you go to a show, you don’t want to buy a CD because it’s harder to carry. If you get a download card you can put it in your pocket or wallet.”
Twitter is another tool the G-House team uses regularly, as exemplified by Luckow’s method of getting featured in Billboard. They also use the blogging platform Tumblr to share the same types of things they post on Facebook. The bands still have MySpace pages, which is a site that the G-House staff credit with paving the way for other social networks to gain success. However, there’s a common sentiment at G-House that everyone hates using it. They emphasized that none of these networks compare to Facebook.
“The fact that anything we send out [on Facebook] right now goes out to 1,600 people,” Luckow said. “That’s pretty cool, and so the bands are getting heard, and thats what really matters.”