October 17, 2010

The Coolest Kid in School

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Thousands of Cornellians in the pursuit of happiness have made Kid Cudi’s Nov. 6 Barton Hall concert the fastest selling show in the Cornell Concert Commission’s history.

After selling out five concerts — Maroon 5, Furthur, the Flaming Lips, Phoenix and, now, Cudi — within a year, the CCC is crowd-surfing up, up and away atop a wave of popular shows.

The CCC’s latest encore, Cudi’s show sold all 4,000 available student tickets last Thursday in just six hours. When the last 1,000 tickets — open to the general public as well as Cornell students — went on sale at 9 a.m. Saturday, 3,000 eager concert-goers were already logged into the University Tickets website.

Before 9:01 a.m. all 1,000 were gone.

“We hit the nail on the head with this one,” CCC Executive Director Douglas DuRant ’11 said. DuRant speculated Cudi sold so well because, although “technically a hip hop artist, he appeals to the alternative indie scene” and “represents multiple genres.”

Although its funding has not been increased by the University, the CCC has been able to rollover savings from previous sold-out shows to bring in more popular artists, who are themselves likely to sell-out.

DuRant said this cycle has created the CCC’s current “golden era,” though he cautioned this trend could be broken by one weak show.

CCC Advisor Joe Scaffido said the Cudi sales “totally blew me away.”­­

“I’ve been here 13 years and we’ve never sold a show like this, without even hanging a poster,” Scaffido said. Scaffido said the only promotion the CCC had for the event was through social media.

In the age of online ticketing, last year’s Furthur concert was the closest any concert has come to selling out as fast as Cudi.  Furthur sold out in two weeks.

Scaffido said the CCC is trying to keep ticket prices below “the magic number” of $20 for students, given that students already pay the CCC through the Student Activities Fee.

Still, that may not stop some for paying more for a ticket in high-demand.

Morgan Bookheimer ’13 said her friend was already offered $80 for his ticket on Craigslist, “and I bet there will be much higher offers.” “I think that says a lot about how pumped this campus is for Kid Cudi,” Bookheimer said.

Born Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi, KiD CuDi exploded onto the music scene with his 2008 mixtape A Kid Named Cudi. He has since been featured on Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak, Snoop Dogg’s More Malice and Jay Z’s The Blueprint 3.

In 2009, Cudi released his concept album Man on the Moon: The End of Day, which received generally favorable reviews.

“Cudi turns out to be that rarest of rap phenomena: a hyped upstart who really does represent a promising new phase in the genre’s evolution,” Entertainment Weekly wrote about the album.

His second full album, Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager is scheduled to be released Nov. 9, just three days after Cudi plays Barton.

“Cudi’s a healthy mix between music you can listen to while at a party, while doing homework and for people who don’t necessarily even like rap,” concert-goer Scott Bergman ’13 said.

The electronic rap group LMFAO was slated to appear at the Cudi show, but later dropped out. The CCC is “currently working to fill the spot with an artist to be announced at a later date,” according to its website.

Scaffido identified a shift in the industry, with artists now touring “not to sell their music but to earn a living.”

He said artists used to play colleges because students were “the market” for promoting their music. Before, concerts were “more of a way to get your name out there” to sell cds than an actual means of making an income.

Yet with “more and more students downloading music illegally,” those artists have increasingly used concerts as ways to make money, changing the nature of the music industry.

This shift may be promising for the CCC, which at 250 members is bigger than it has ever been before, according to DuRant.

Original Author: Jeff Stein