Kid Cudi to headline spring concert

After a contract delay over the past several weeks, Student Association and Activities Commission have officially announced this week that the 2012 spring concert will feature hip-hop artist Kid Cudi and an as-of-yet unconfirmed co-headliner on Saturday April 21. 

Kid Cudi, who was also one of the most demanded artists of last year at Geneseo, is known for hit singles like "Day ‘n' Night," "Erase Me" and "Mr. Rager," and has worked with a number of well-known artists including Kanye West, David Guetta and Jay-Z. At the end of the month, he's set to release a collaborative rock album with producer Dot da Genius called WZRD.

The selection process

According to senior Bill Greco, who is in his second year as concerts coordinator of AC, Kid Cudi was one of the top five choices in a preliminary survey conducted by AC through tabling in the Union last semester, as well as one of the top five choices among the first tier of popular artists in the first online concert survey.  

Because AC sought to emphasize the importance of student opinion in the spring concert choice this year, Greco said these surveys came as part of a series of changes to the process which he said he hoped permitted more student input. "Most important is who the students want to see," said Greco.

While this open process yielded artists outside of AC's price range like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, "We got about 20 solid names that kept recurring," said Greco. "Overall we had over 500 artist requests and we had to narrow it down. We took the most popular ones, of course."

The official online survey featured the most popular artists, then those who were requested but not as popular, and finally those who were requested but had performed at Geneseo before. As was stated in a Lamron article from Oct. 20, 2011, the survey ran for several weeks during the fall semester and resulted in three top names: Maroon 5, Blink-182 and The Killers.

"No artists were included in the survey that weren't in our budget," said Greco, adding that in today's industry, "artist prices are increasing dramatically." Greco said that some popular survey choices like Nicki Minaj and Weezer that were considered for the concert increased their initial costs after the survey results came in, causing them to be removed as possibilities because their price was outside of AC's budget.

The survey was answered by 3,200 students with a response rate of 64.5 percent – an "extremely high number," according to Greco. This rate surpasses the response to any SA executive board elections in the past, as well as any past concert surveys done through SA and AC. 

"People have been very happy with the diversity on this year's survey," said Greco, referring to comments on the Facebook event for the 2012 spring concert.

The actual choosing and booking of the concert artist depends on a number of diverse factors that can cause the most popular student choices to potentially not be chosen. Tour routing and dates, pricing, bids from other colleges and universities, and the fact that artists may not want to play certain areas and/or schools "are the biggest components of booking an artist," said Greco. 

Financing the concert

In terms of cost for AC, the concert announcement follows a 4-2-1 decision of the SA Executive Board on Oct. 19, 2011 to allocate an additional $51,045 from its own Budget Increases account to Activities Commission's Concerts account, in addition to nearly doubling the budget from $80,000 to $150,000 in October of 2010. According to Greco, part of the impetus to ask for an increased budget is from the ever-rising performance cost of artists. 

Within the Concerts budget, Greco said that AC has "$150,000 to spend on talent," with several other budget lines to cover hospitality for the artist, safety (like Geneseo First Response and University Police) and promotion and advertising. 

Most of these costs are covered through mandatory student activity fees – a $100 fee included in tuition that all full-time students pay to cover the cost of clubs and extracurricular activities – while only a small fraction of the total cost will be offset by ticket sales. 

Although Greco said, "Ticket sales can bring in approximately $54,000," he emphasized that AC does not look to make a profit off the concert, but rather to break even and not lose any money, as was the case with Gym Class Heroes and Asher Roth in fall 2009. 

Ticket sales

Greco explained that the ticketing process, like the student surveys, has also been modified this year. "It's something we're pushing hard to change," said Greco. Last year for Ke$ha and 3OH!3, many students faced problems with buying tickets after there were only two days exclusively for Geneseo student ticket sales, and students were allowed to buy up to six tickets (one student-priced, five general public-priced) per person.