KELLY VAUGHAN ’17
Walking around Trinity’s campus, you probably notice stickers printed in red and white with the words “No Sh***y Music” posted on walls, exit signs, street lamps, and laptops. With students blasting music from their Jarvis suites or during practice on the field, there is a high demand for quality playlists to jam out to with friends. A group of Trinity students decide to fulfill this need not only on Trinity’s campus, but at schools all across the country.
R.J. Ugolik, Rob Gau, Drew Meagher, Stefan Harnes, and Stephan Morse met during their freshman year at Trinity while living together in North Campus and bonded over each other’s unique musical tastes. Together, they came up with the idea for Mugatunes, an online intercollegiate community where users can find the best new music, handpicked by music lovers on their respective campuses.
In a Tripod exclusive interview with Ugolik, he explained, “The idea started out simply as a way for a bunch of roommates in Jarvis to keep up with the newest music as it came out. As many college students are, we were plugged in for a good portion of the day, and it was senseless not to be sharing the music we were listening to with one another.” Using the catchphrase, “No Sh***y Music,” Mugatunes “sift[s] through the sh*t and delivers the best sounds to those in search of them.”
The guys at Mugatunes owe their most recent success to Viewpoint Creative, a creative agency aimed at assisting startup companies with marketing strategies and publicity. Mugatunes was the 2015 winner of The Ad Club’s 2nd Annual Brandathon, which paired Viewpoint Creative and Mugatunes together.
“Their team took all of our previous work and channeled it into a brilliant branding campaign, so it can resonate more with our target demographic of college students. They spent 72 hours straight brainstorming clever taglines, brochures, posters, graphics, video – you name it,” Ugolik revealed. He recognizes how helpful their efforts with Viewpoint Creative have been, describing their collaboration as a “tremendous opportunity to work with the same people who are responsible for branding companies such as HBO and ESPN, and it taught us a lot about thinking outside the box when it comes to growing a brand. We’re now putting the finishing touches on them and sending the digital content/physical materials out to our participating schools.”
Given their inspiration from being in a college setting, Mugatunes has found a way to involve students all across the country. They try to keep in touch with collegiates, even engaging them down to the name of their company.
Ugolik explained, “The name “Mugatunes” is based off Will Ferrel’s character in Zoolander, and I think that appealed to a lot of our peers when we first started.”
Megatunes currently has a presence at thirty campuses including 8 of the 11 NESCACs, and bigger schools like Michigan State, Arizona State, Penn State, and San Diego State University.
Ugolik describes Mugatune’s long term goals, including “curat[ing] an assortment of campus-specific content, and hopefully have it on enough campuses so that it can keep growing on its own. He continued, “We tirelessly cultivated a culture based on the idea of #NoSh***y Music at Trinity, and now we’re starting to see it happen in real-time at other campuses which is pretty cool.”
Ugolik shared the impact the brand has had on his own college experience and what he hopes for others to gain from being involved.
“For starters, Mugatunes has been one of the most enlightening and educational elements of my collegiate experience. In addition to being a great way for students to develop their resume and online presence, joining the team allows for an introduction to new-age journalism, public relations, social media and marketing that cannot be found elsewhere. Ideal candidates of Mugatunes become Editors in Chief on their campus, who then build a team of contributing authors with diverse interests and tastes. Authors post music they discover (often via SoundCloud) on their campus’ page, publish articles about what’s going on in music, art and culture, as well as create themed playlists celebrating their unique campus life and aestheticism. As a result of establishing a campus presence that spans the country, those involved gain access to a vast network of opportunities in an industry that is currently experiencing exponential growth.”
With a school full of aspiring business owners and creative thinkers, Ugolik urges Trinity students to “stop sitting on [an idea] and act.” “Don’t wait. Humans have figured out how to make more of just about everything in this world except time… As we found out, there’s a market for pretty much anything if you’re willing to do the work necessary to build it. I hate to sound so cliche but as the saying goes, if you build it…”
KELLY VAUGHAN ’17