Music promotion company goes global from Columbus headquarters
By Aaron NemoPublished June 1, 2012
They get the same question every time they do business abroad.
Where is your company based out of?
New York? Los Angeles? Miami?
Nope … Columbus, Ohio.
“I love saying I’m from Columbus. I say it with pride and I love to see the expression and the reaction,” said Columbus native and co-founder of Prime Social Group, Zach Ruben. “We’re the boys from Columbus.”
Prime Social Group is an international promotional company constantly seeking out underserved markets where they can bring in world-class acts to perform concerts, tours, comedy shows, raves and more. Often times, the demographic that Prime Social Group finds being neglected is college students. A-List performers don’t typically flock toward universities where ticket prices might have to be compromised to attract students on the Ramen plan. Ruben’s PSG collaborator, Adam Lynn, likes to think of their mission as “enhancing the college experience.” Lynn first recognized the demand for college entertainment while enrolled in college and founded the promotion company Social Studyz.
“When I started out at the University of Michigan, we didn’t have a concert budget, so there were no shows coming to my school, which is why I started bringing events there,” said Lynn. Social Studyz began by throwing promoting parties at local bars and clubs but quickly snowballed into bringing in household names to multiple colleges. Their first huge event lured legendary rapper Nas to Eastern Michigan University, a show for which Social Studyz sold 4,000 tickets. His goal is the same now as it was back then, he says: “To find who’s the hottest act in the country and bring them to all the kids that want to see them.”
Meanwhile, Ruben was getting his feet wet in the promotional field while studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain. When he returned, he started doing small events in Columbus as well as at his own campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. By 2010, Ruben, on par with Lynn, was bringing in big names like Mike Posner to the former BOMA in Columbus and LMFAO to The Orpheum in Madison.
The two competitors, vying for the same artists, mutually decided to take the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach and combined forces, creating a four-day college mini tour during which the first event sold 2,400 tickets and they haven’t stopped since. With a firm grip on the Midwest college market and dreams of expanding overseas, the two came to a conclusion on where they wanted to station their headquarters.
“Columbus is the perfect fit, being that it has the largest student population in the country,” points out Lynn, who was raised in New York and spent his college career in Ann Arbor. “I always tell people that Columbus is a great place to live and a great place to leave. You’ve got all these highways and you have, in my opinion, the easiest airport to fly in and out of the country in the Columbus Airport. I’m starting to realize now why you have such major companies like Limited and Abercrombie headquartered in Columbus: because of the accessibility and because of the genuinely good people you have in Ohio.”
Prime Social Group has taken their fine-tuned product and they are now expanding their territory internationally to Barcelona, Warsaw, Madrid, Florence, Hamburg and Rome. They are hitting up the biggest cities in the world despite the fact that no one at those shows knows how to react when they find out Prime Social Group is based out of little ole Columbus, Ohio. As Lynn puts it, “You always get a second look like, ‘Really?’”
Prime Social Group will host drum-and-bass all-star Dieselboy this month at Skully’s Music Diner, 1151 N High St., June 16th. Later this summer, they continue to fuse Columbus and the national landscape with the Do Good Music Festival, a September 22nd all-day event in Bowling Green that features C-bus acts like Fly Union, Cornelius Jackson and Freaky Franz on the same bill as blazing-hot Danny Brown. For more events, visit www.primesocialgroup.com.