How Sascha Guttfreund Became Huge in the Music Industry

From College Kid to Working with Kendrick Lamar and Tory Lanez — the Story of Sascha Guttfreund

Kendrick Lamar.

J. Cole.

Tory Lanez.

Sascha Guttfreund went from college kid to building Scoremore Shows — and working with some of biggest names in the music industry.

Not many people get to brag about being the right-hand man to a Grammy-nominated rapper like Tory Lanez.

But Sascha does.

we debate (argue) a lot.

A post shared by Sascha Stone Guttfreund (@saschastone) on

Today, we go behind-the-scenes to see the music industry exposed with Sascha.

Listen below to learn:

  1. How Sascha almost became a chef… but got into the music industry instead
  1. What goes on in the music industry, how the music industry works, and what music industry careers are like
  1. The key takeaways for following your passion and getting into any industry you want

Plus a bunch more.

Listen on Apple Podcasts - Listen on Spotify - Download mp3

How to choose your path (and adjust when needed)

You have options with your business.

You can focus on recurring revenue, website traffic, email subscribers…

There are TONS of places to put your attention. It can be overwhelming. 😕

I know because I’ve been there.

During my trip to Israel I listed all the things I work on:

This was way too much stuff… and the results showed.

I was doing a lot of “good,” but not much “great.”

If you want to be great, you need focus. (Tweet this)

This meant focusing the majority of my time on Sumo and AppSumo, and putting one day per week aside for my podcast and YouTube channel.

Sascha had choices to decide, too.

Before starting his career in the music industry, he’d accepted a job as a chef in Whitefish, Montana and was very close to choosing a very different life path.

But after booking his first successful show — an Afroman gig on Mother’s Day — he chose to follow his passion for music.

The coolest thing is being able to share something you're passionate about. Like for me like I don't make music. But I love the music and I love to experience different cultures.

On reflection, it can be so easy to look back at decisions and feel you did the right thing.

But the truth is, you can make a case for whatever angle you want — and people are happy for different reasons!

In my own life, I see how decisions aren’t always black and white.

For example, my life could have taken a different path and I might still have been happy:

  • Life could have been great if I’d stuck around working at Facebook
  • I could be happy if I focused on Sumo 7 days per week
  • Maybe if I decided to major in something besides business, it could have worked out

Looking back today, I can see the pros and cons for each of these decisions.

The same is true for Sascha.

Being a well-known rap music promoter and manager might seem like a dream, but it’s not without its issues.

All the late nights, partying, and lack of sleep can take a toll on you.

Sascha soon realized that this lifestyle wasn’t working for him — while he was making money, he was feeling like crap... and not totally happy.

I was at a show and I remember I had like a beer in my hand I had money in my pocket. I thought I was going to get laid. And and I remember having all of these things that I thought would make me happy. But I just felt empty. This is not for me. This is not working.

He stopped the drinking, and it's changed his life for the better.

Listen on Apple Podcasts - Listen on Spotify - Download mp3

Risk vs. reward in business

Recently, I learned from Ryan Holiday the economics of the book business.

Behind-the-scenes of businesses we see everyday is super interesting.

I wanted to learn about the economics of the music business with Sascha.

First up, what’s the difference between a manager and promoter?

  • Managers work off revenue, and take a commission of between 10-25% depending on who you are.
  • Promoters play a much riskier game, but the rewards can be much higher. You’re trying to drive more revenue from sales of shows or events than you spend on the artists, renting the venue, etc.

In the promoter business, the upside is huge but there's a higher risk side.

This is true for lots of different businesses.

Take Uber for example — we recently had Andrew Chen, their Head of Growth, on the podcast.

They’re creating a totally new type of transportation system.

Their upside is INSANE, because they’re changing an entire industry. But the downside is these types of startups are far more likely to fail in the early days.

Same with Micha Kaufman and Fiverr. It was slow to start… but now they’re a $1+ billion company.

My businesses are much more like “manager” style businesses.

Sumo is based on Groupon, which I liked following following because I knew the concept was more likely to work (and we’ve grown to an 8-figure company).

I’ve taken concepts that are already proven to work and reapplied them to new niches.

If you’re starting or growing your own business, are you...

  • The promoter thinking going for huge risks… but huge rewards?
  • Or the manager, doing something stably for smaller but more predictable gains?

This is the tip of the iceberg.

Listen below to hear my full conversation with Sascha below and learn:

  1. What it’s like to work with the biggest name in entertainment, like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Chance the Rapper, and more
  1. The music industry exposed and behind-the-scenes — warts and all
  1. Strategies to start your business in a crowded market (like the music industry)

Listen on Apple Podcasts - Listen on Spotify - Download mp3

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2 responses to “From College Kid to Working with Kendrick Lamar and Tory Lanez — the Story of Sascha Guttfreund”

Edith
October 4, 2017 at 12:15 am

Hi Noah this article is too much bits of everrything: no focus. I was interested to read about Sascha but his story is overwhelmed with so many distracting things. I hope you will write an article just about Sascha without interrupting his story.

Reply
Noah Kagan
October 10, 2017 at 3:15 pm

Agreed, improving our articles.

Reply