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GHouse has gone Google

Posted Tim Luckow, Founder & Owner of GHouse

Editor's note: From the founding of Faneuil Hall in 1740 to the opening of Franklin Southie in 2008, Boston’s businesses have embodied an enterprising and entrepreneurial spirit. Today, we’re wicked excited to hear from Tim Luckow, founder of Boston-based GHouse, a record label, management and promotion company. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

Photo by Christopher Evans, Boston Herald
One of the most enduring critiques of the record industry is, as Q-Tip rhymed in 1991, "Industry Rule No. 4,080: Record company people are shady." While some things have improved since then, there are still plenty of ways the industry could be better. I started GHouse, a Boston-based music label, management and booking agency, to make that change happen.

Transparency reigns supreme at GHouse: we’re dedicated to showing our artists what happens behind the scenes on the business side so they can focus on their music. We want them to know exactly how much they’re making from digital sales, how many people are streaming their songs online and what each venue contract really means. It’s good both for the artists and for us: we’ve doubled our profits quarter-over-quarter since the start of 2012.

Google Apps makes that transparency - and the vision I have for my business - possible. The foundation of this clear communication sits in Google Sheets. We create, share and constantly update a spreadsheet for each of our artists that tracks performance across multiple channels, from the number of times their songs are live-streamed on certain sites to how many tickets they’re selling for upcoming shows. That way, the band can hop into the spreadsheet at any given time and know how much they can expect in royalties and sales.

As we’ve grown, so has the geographic distribution of our bands. Thanks to Google+ Hangouts, it feels like we’re still in the same neighborhood. Instead of having to venture down the Eastern seaboard on a bus each week, we’ll catch up with them over video conferencing. That’s eight hours I spend focusing on my business rather than commuting along I-95.

Most importantly, Google Apps has helped me prove the legitimacy of the business side of GHouse to the investors, who are an increasingly essential part of the company’s future. I track everything about the business in Sheets, including quarterly distribution and tour numbers, divided by artists and labels. The investors I’ve shared these with love how all this information is centrally located, impeccably organized, updated in real-time and accessible to the team at any time, from any device.

Google Apps is truly the core of my business. It’s helped GHouse function as a company for four years without an office, whether we’re updating our artists’ performance spreadsheets over lattes at a coffee shop or doing last minute planning for a SXSW showcase in Austin. I’m able to run a record label like I think it should be run. To me, that’s real success.