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|Articles - February 2011|
|Thursday, January 27, 2011|
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STORY BY JENNIFER NETHERBY // PHOTOS BY ANTHONY PIDGEON
October is one of the busiest months for concert promoters. College students are back at school and summer’s good weather has passed. Portland promoter Mike Thrasher Presents put on 75 shows in Portland and Seattle in that month alone in 2010. For each one, a group of high school and college-aged volunteers, members of Thrasher’s street team, hit concerts, schools and neighborhood record shops passing out flyers to get the word out. Marketers, meanwhile, mailed concert flyers to a network of tattoo and piercing shops, pizzerias, cafes and other businesses that have agreed to hang them up for customers. Those marketers also hype the shows on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, even buying Google Adwords for bands to find every potential audience member.
It’s this marketing machine that has helped make Mike Thrasher Presents one of the biggest concert promoters in the Northwest and a recognized name among indie, punk and metal music fans.
Leading the effort is the man himself, a 39-year-old former punk rock kid who works from the company’s Northeast Portland office, an easy-to-miss bungalow on a residential street behind the Wonder Ballroom that’s denoted by a small Mike Thrasher Presents sign near the front door. Inside, the office is functionally furnished with a couple concert posters on the wall from years past. From here Thrasher negotiates with agents and band managers to book talent and plan marketing strategy for each new show his company promotes.
In the next few months, Mike Thrasher Presents will put on concerts in Portland and Seattle with better-known acts that include the pop band Chromeo, heavy metal group Danzig, punk bands Social Distortion and Bad Religion, and dozens more largely-unheard-of punk, metal and indie artists. With nearly 400 concerts a year, Thrasher is one of the top promoters in the country. In 2009, he sold 201,309 tickets, ranking him the 29th top U.S. promoter, just behind Portland’s Mark Adler/True West and ahead of other local competitors Monqui Presents and Double Tee Concerts, according to industry trade magazine Pollstar. In December, Thrasher launched Cascade Tickets, a concert-ticketing service that will handle sales for McMenamins venues and compete with the newly merged Ticketmaster/Live Nation in the Northwest. Thrasher promises to eliminate “pre-order fees” and lower service fees that he says have frustrated concertgoers.
Unlike local competitors who own their own venues (Adler owns the Aladdin Theater, Monqui the Doug Fir Lounge), Thrasher has built a successful business out of putting on hundreds of shows a year with mostly up-and-coming musicians at different clubs across Portland and Seattle. Those who work with him credit it to the stealthy street team he created and his work ethic.
For someone who has made a name for himself in the Northwest through his marketing prowess, Thrasher the man comes off as more guarded, answering questions about his business in a matter-of-fact way, without elaborating. When asked whether he has crazy stories about artist requests on concert riders, he says yes, but doesn’t divulge any.
But he clearly knows his business down to the smallest detail, rattling off seating at venues around town off the top of his head.
“He’s very knowledgeable about his skill,” says Trevor Solomon, who started out as an intern for Thrasher in 1999 and worked for him for six years before moving to Willamette Week to head its Music Festival Northwest. Thrasher, he says, is “very sweet but at the same time, he’s very intense about how he wants things done and wants things done in a certain fashion. He’s very thorough and he cares — that’s the best thing. He cares about the concert, agents, the people working for him and he cares about the consumer.”
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
The Big One serves as an allegory for Portland, a city that earns plaudits for lifestyle and amenities but whose infrastructure is, literally, crumbling.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE
Oregon is home to an abundance of gritty warehouses reborn as trendy office spaces, as well as crafty hipsters turned entrepreneurs. Does the combination yield an equally bounteous office products sector? Not so much. Occupying the limited desk jockey space are Field Notes, a spinoff of Portland’s Draplin Design Company, and Schuttenworks, known for whittling Apple device stands. For a full complement of keyboard trays, docking stations and mouse pads, check out the GroveMade line, guaranteed to boost the cachet of even the lowliest cubicle drone.
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
A New York floral and gift business takes on the iconic Harry & David brand.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY LINDA WESTON
In 1996, after a 17-year career in the destination marketing industry, where I gained national standing as the CEO of the Convention & Visitors Association of Lane County, I was recruited by the founders of a new professional basketball league for women. The American Basketball League (ABL) hoped to leverage the success of the 1996 USA women’s national team at the Atlanta Olympics — much like USA Soccer is now leveraging the U.S. Women’s National Team’s victory in the World Cup. The ABL wanted a team in Portland, and they wanted me to be its general manager.
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
Market of Choice is on a tear. In 2012 the 35-year-old Eugene-based grocery chain opened a central kitchen/distribution center in its hometown. The market opened a third Portland store in the Cedar Mill neighborhood this year; a Bend outpost broke ground in March. A fourth Portland location is slated for the inner southeast “LOCA” development, a mixed-use project featuring condos and retail. Revenues in 2014 were $175 million, a double-digit increase over 2013. CEO Rick Wright discusses growth, market trends and how he keeps new “foodie” grocery clerks happy.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Oregon's roads are crumbling, and revenues from state and local gas taxes are not sufficient to pay for improvements. We asked readers if the private sector should help fund transportation maintenance and repairs. Research partner CFM Strategic Communications conducted the poll of 366 readers in February.
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY CAMILLE GRIGSBY-ROCCA
Can the brave new world of neurotechnology help an OHSU surgeon find a cure for obesity?
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Transforming the culture of Oregon’s educational leadership.
The Board dismissed a petition related to efforts to unionize the Northwestern University football team.
Every once in a while we receive a letter in the (fictional) mailbag that is tough to describe and quite compelling. This week, Isabel, the new HR manager at LabCo (and someone who is new to HR), wants to know whether she may fire the owner’s son for having an Oregon medical marijuana card. In passing, Isabel also makes a number of alarming admissions about her motivation. Here is Isabel’s nerve-racking question and our response to it.
Oregon Sick Leave is here, and changes to the federal white-collar worker regulations are on the way. This workshop will prepare you for both. We invite you to participate in an interactive discussion on how to start planning now for the future impact on your operations and finances.
Presented by OEN + CENTRL + YESpdx.
This Roundtable will cover numerous issues under the employer "shared responsibility" rules of the Affordable Care Act, including how to track the "full-time" status of variable-hour employees, temporary or seasonal employees, and employees who experience a change in status or a break in service. Additionally, we will provide a brief overview of Code sections 6055 and 6056, which require most mid-sized and large employers to submit their first information reports to the IRS in early 2016 regarding the health insurance coverage being offered to employees. We invite you to participate in an interactive discussion on how to prepare for the future impact of the shared responsibility rules on your operations and finances.