It takes one good idea to change the world.
Just ask Boulder’s Nick Guarino.
The 20-year-old University of Colorado student had a vision to build a website that catered to the electronic and hip-hop music worlds. Guarino calls the site thissongissick.com and it’s striking a chord with college fans.
Now the project’s going global and franchising into dozens of new projects — including concert promotions and a newer indie music site called thisbandissick.com.
“I started this when I was attending CU Boulder,” Guarino said. “Things are taking off between this site and my DJ’ing, so I’m taking this semester off.
“I’ve always been passionate about music and I feel this could be my lifelong career. Since I started this site, I’ve seen 20-30 blogs copying it — it’s setting a trend. That’s why I had to take off a semester to see where it goes.”
Guarino switched from CU’s business school to the journalism school’s advertising track to develop his marketing savvy.
“I am using some of the skills I learned at CU,” Guarino said. “There are some great things I can use every day — especially information on brand building.”
Guarino translated those skills into building his site’s brand name.
“Ever since the fifth grade I’ve been passionate about music,” Guarino said. “I liked getting into new artists and getting new music. I started out listening to rock, but then I started getting into rap and electronic music.”
Yes, Guarino did have an epiphany moment when it came to creating his project.
The entrepreneur went to UNC for his freshman year, where he lived on a diet of Top 40 music. Guarino transferred to CU Boulder as a sophomore and discovered a whole new world of music.
The CU student was bombarded by electronic and hip-hop acts, and he wanted to share his music finds with other college kids.
“I was hit with a whirlwind of new music,” Guarino said. “It was fueled by my love for electronic and hip-hop. It blew my mind to be exposed to all these new artists — like Pretty Lights and Glitch Mob.
“I figured I’d start a music blog that would make it easy for college kids to find all this new music. I saw the potential and the first week we had over 1,000 fans.”
Guarino got his out-of-state buddies to tell their friends, and it wasn’t long before news of the site hit other campuses.
Followers of thismusicissick.com like getting basic info on the acts and scoring free tunes. This is one site that get permission from artists — before it posts the music.
“I tell a few phrases about the electronic and hip-hop artists on the blog — keep it simple,” Guarino said. “I put some of my personality into the posts and I post songs you could get for free. The music goes from bangin’ to chill.
“We’re giving away all this quality music for free. We’ve even posted free music by acts like Kanye West and Macklemore.”
It wasn’t long before thissongissick.com branched into other endeavors. The site even fostered Guarino’s growing DJ career.
Guarino DJs with the Sorry For Partying crew, and the act’s already opened shows for Sam Adams and Mac Miller.
Guarino’s not stopping there.
The young entrepreneur realized indie rock was another component of the college scene. That’s why he teamed up with Andrew Woods to create thisbandissick.com.
“This site has indie rock and indie-oriented bands,” Guarino said. “There’s some bands no one’s ever heard of! It’s another world, so I’m still trying to figure new ways to integrate both sites.”
Guarino’s been working hard to brand both his music sites. Along the way, he became known as a music expert and local concert promoters asked for his advice.
Now Guarino’s stepping out on his own and looking to become a viable Colorado promoter.
“I now have the finances to decide what I want to put my money into,” Guarino said. “I’m now promoting my own concerts.
“I’m thinking pretty big and I have two events in the works for the 1stBank Center. It’s been pretty exciting — I’ve been establishing a presence.”
Guarino’s already looking to the future and he has lots of spin-off projects in the works.
“This thing has lots of potential,” Guarino said. “I’m still thinking about a label geared around giving away free music, and I’ve just teamed up with a clothing company. I want to create a full line of shirts and sunglasses.
“I’m also organizing a street team and internship program. I’m looking to expand into a lot of different areas. This thing is happening faster than I could have imagined.”