All-Campus Entertainment (ACE) signed Macklemore to headline the College’s spring concert in April. The popular Seattle-based rapper signed a contract with the College last Wednesday, committing to a concert with Ryan Lewis on April 14 in Lasell Gymnasium. ACE began its pursuit of Macklemore in mid-October after presenting its first budget to the Finance Committee (FinCom) of College Council (CC). After CC approved its budget, ACE began negotiations with the artist and his agent, reaching a binding agreement in a little over two months.
Known for his 2012 megahit “Thrift Shop” with Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz, Macklemore has risen to prominence in the past few years. Though he released an EP titled Open Your Eyes in 2000 under the name Professor Macklemore, he did not release his first full-length album, The Language of My World, until Jan. 2005. His 2009 The Unplanned Mixtape featured his debut single “The Town.” In 2010, he teamed up with producer Ryan Lewis to create the EP VS. Redux, establishing a collaboration that would bring them both fame. The Heist, Macklemore and Lewis’s first full-length album together, was released in 2012 and included “Thrift Shop” and previously released singles “My Oh My,” “Wings” and “Can’t Hold Us.” The album debuted on the U.S. Billboard 200 at No. 2 on the week of Oct. 27 and sold 78,000 copies.
“There’s obviously a huge amount of buzz surrounding Macklemore right now; you can’t go to a party without hearing ‘Thrift Shop,’” Quinn Pitcher ’15, co-chair of ACE Concerts Committee, said. “Macklemore is an artist that we targeted as an artist on the rise – a rising star who was not yet prohibitively expensive, [and] therefore within our budgetary constraints. His growing popularity made us choose him, and we’re lucky to have him.”
Gabriel Stephens ’15, co-chair of ACE Concerts Committee agreed with Pitcher. “He’s been commanding giant amounts of buzz, not just here but elsewhere (Internet, TV, radio, iTunes),” he said. “It seemed only natural to try to snatch him up before his fees increased, which they are sure to do if they haven’t already. Macklemore has a reputation of being a very decent, easy-to-work-with artist, which is a huge plus as well.”
After its fall campaign to survey students on what types of concerts they prefer, ACE identified Macklemore as a choice that took both student opinion and budgetary constraints into account. “The results of our survey of the campus indicated that the student body desired large concerts with artists they were familiar with, and Macklemore certainly fits the bill,” Pitcher said. “Macklemore was an artist who was specifically mentioned numerous times in the comments section of the survey, and the desires of the student body certainly figured into our decision.” Stephens also noticed student clamor for Macklemore: “He was the artist most mentioned by name in the survey we put out in the fall. He also belongs to the genres (hip hop and indie) most asked for by respondents.”
Though the concert will be on a Sunday, Pitcher feels confident this will not deter student attendance. “We entered the bidding process at a relatively late point, and the more prime dates, like Fridays and Saturdays, were already snatched up by larger schools that could offer more money. Taking a Sunday date was a compromise we felt comfortable with making in order to secure Macklemore,” he said. “When we can identify an artist who is on the cusp of ubiquitous fame, we can get them for a price tag we can afford.” Stephen points out the common goal between students and ACE. “We just want what you want: to choose great concerts that fit the interests of the campus in a broad sense. We feel bringing Macklemore best represents that view at this time.”
Stephens sees this concert and ACE’s strategy for organizing it as a useful model for booking acts down the road. “We hope that bringing Macklemore serves as proof that asking for student input and openly communicating with CC does not mean compromising the quality of artists or the decision-making process” Stephens said. “In this case, doing these things completely improved the quality of artist. Using this concert as a base, we seek to continue on this road and use input and communication as a conduit for getting more artists like Macklemore in the future.”