The typical college party begins with an empty living room, 20 or so people, and, most importantly, a suitable iPod mix tuned through a set of subwoofers scooped from the basement of one of the tenant’s parents. And while this setting may seem to be enough, if not ideal, for the average party, LSA senior Adam Lynn and Business senior Jason Javer thought otherwise. Instead of the empty living room, they got a stadium. Instead of 20 people, 4,000 showed up. And, instead of a dinky-ass iPod, they got Nas. While a Friday night party is a sufficiently ambitious undertaking for the average undergrad, Lynn and Javer thought bigger. Way bigger.
It was last March when Lynn and Javer brought Nas to Eastern Michigan’s Convocation Center. The show was the culmination of an entrepreneurial journey that began as a way of coping with classic fraternity house drama, and it was a decisive success.
It takes a lot, though, to make a rhyme-spitting Nas appear out of thin air, even though audience members are more likely think about the music than the work that went in to putting the whole event together. Lynn and Javer, however, now specialize in bringing big names to campus. Their company Social Studyz LLC aims to promote upcoming concerts even grander than their past scores.
The two students’ journey from typical undergrads to concert promoters and producers has been, in the words of Javer, “an ongoing entrepreneurial process.” One of the first times they realized they had a knack for putting events together was when the two were appointed social chairs of their fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi, their sophomore year. Lynn and Javier enjoyed a semester of planning and promoting parties until Phi Kappa Psi was placed on social probation.
“This was devastating for a social chair where our job was to show everyone a great time on campus,” Lynn explained.
Lynn and Javer decided to find a way around it.
“It was Jason’s idea. He said, ‘Well, if we can’t do it at our house, let’s just go somewhere else. Let’s take our party somewhere else.’ ”
The two went to bars and clubs across Ann Arbor, throwing and promoting parties. They found that they were more successful than they ever thought.
“We would throw a party that was designated for maybe 200 people and 800 people would show up,” Lynn said. “So we got this little idea in our mind that maybe there’s a profit to be made out of this scenario.”
They decided to be proactive about their skills. Their junior year, Lynn and Javer founded the business and student group Social Studyz LLC. There they began promoting parties at bars and clubs for a profit. By hiring representatives from different student groups on campus to spread the word and bring friends, many of their events were complete hits. Setting their sights high, Lynn and Javer then started looking for a more challenging, exciting and lucrative project.
“We were constantly filling up these bars and clubs. So from our aspect where was the next step we could take? That’s how this whole process came about,” Lynn said.
“This whole process” refers to what Lynn calls “the single hardest project of each of our lives”: bringing renowned rapper Nas to Ypsilanti last February.
After months of work including advertising, finding investors and booking a venue for their artist, Lynn and Javer’s hard work finally paid off when they met Nas and witnessed the crazy amount of people who came to see him perform. Close to 4,000 people attended the concert at nearby Eastern Michigan University. Lynn and Javer were ecstatic. Not only to have met the hip hop royal, but also to have produced such an enormous event.
“It was … the coolest experience I ever had,” Lynn said. But he was quick to point out the hardships that came with the endeavor as well.
“We kind of get ahead ourselves a little bit,” he confessed. “We see the opportunity. So the opportunity was there and we kind of realized pretty early on in the process that, shit, this is a pretty big undertaking, but we managed to cope with it pretty well.”
Social Studyz LLC has proven to be more useful than Lynn and Javer expected. Both agree that their group has helped them to apply what they’re being taught in class to real world situations. Lynn even spent his summer working for a music agency, exploring a potential career.
“It’s showing us how to really operate a company,” Lynn said.
“I feel like we’re taking a lot of what we’re learning in school and it’s great to apply them because a lot of times in school you’re going to read from a textbook and you’re going to learn, but you’re not really able to apply those skills,” Javer said.
It seems as though Lynn and Javer have a talent for promoting and marketing, and they show no signs of slowing down. Social Studyz LLC has taken on more projects this year with at least two more local concerts in the works for this fall. One concert is scheduled to be at EMU. The other one, slated to be at the Michigan Theater, is planned for the weekend of the Ohio State game. Lynn and Javer aren’t allowed to mention any specific artists they’re looking to bring to town, but they expect to land more marquee hip-hop acts.
As if their work with Social Studyz isn’t rewarding — and time-consuming — enough, Lynn and Javer now have a new partner (LSA senior Bennett Washabaugh) and a new business endeavor to pour their efforts into: They recently established Go Blue Beverages, a business where students can order all sorts of drinks and have them delivered to their door at a discounted price.
At face value, Lynn and Javer seem just like any other typical college kids. What sets them apart is their ingenuity, resolve and desire to create the social and music scene they wanted for themselves and their campus. And their courage to tackle enormous undertakings with major names (and dollar figures) on the line doesn’t hurt. Putting their fates into their own hands, the two created their own company, a time-consuming yet rewarding hobby that enabled them to put together stadiums filled with students screaming away at big-name music acts.
If it seems impossible to get two dozen friends to show up at your house on a Friday night to drink your beer, imagine getting a world-renowned performer to put on a show in your town’s backyard. And imagine getting thousands of students to pay to see it. That sounds impossible. And Adam Lynn and Jason Javer did it. And they’ll do it again.