The Hard Rock brand was founded over 35 years ago, bringing a different dynamic to the entertainment industry. Today, the brand is worth over a billion dollars, and operates in 59 different countries. But regardless of the brand’s reach, it still operates under some core philosophies. To this day, Hard Rock still showcases the best in new and old music, and looks to help local acts grow organically.
Their merchandising has certainly set the brand apart from others trying to penetrate a market that includes live music, food, casinos and merchandising as well as rare music memorabilia. No other brand has dominated this sphere the way Hard Rock has consummately done.
But Hard Rock hasn’t always been the industry leader – in fact it began as a “musicians hang out back in London specializing in down-home American cooking,” with Eric Clapton reportedly a frequent customer during the early days. Now, however, Hard Rock has a flagship store, bar, eatery or casino in almost all the major cities across the world. VH1 states Hard Rock has upwards of 77,000 notable pieces of rock memorabilia across its stores, making it the biggest single collection in the world.
Additionally, the brand still cultivates local music as well as putting on a whole host of covers bands and artists that play some authentic rock music that has become synonymous with the brand since its inception. Giving fledgling local talent a platform has enabled Hard Rock to appeal to the younger demographic away from the fans of the brand which have helped it grow to what it is today. It’s also evident that they haven’t strayed from open mic nights – another facet of the global brand to stay intact regardless of vast expansion.
Possibly, Hard Rock has seen a need to shift their emphasis somewhat over the years – evolving with trends along the way. With some of its casino establishments underperforming in the last decade, they aren’t as reliant on the revenues from that side of the business anymore. The emergence of gaming platforms that have used music as a vehicle to attract an entirely new demographic have been apparent and taken a lot of the market share land-based properties used to command. The popularity of Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock and its seemingly endless success has transcended to online where Spin Genie saw the market potential of releasing a Guns N’ Roses game on the cusp of the band return to touring, are just some of the games which have caused the casual gamer to divert their attention away from casino establishments. Technology has evolved rapidly and gaming isn’t an appealing facet of Hard Rock’s business, not with the majority of players looking to participate online now. Just referencing Las Vegas’ dip in annual visitors is testament to that.
So, as Hard Rock defies logic and continues to feature on people’s Instagram and Facebook accounts as a mark of visiting a major city for rock fans the world over, so does the possibility of you seeing an exciting new artist. The Hard Rock brand will live on for many years to come, as a rock institution that bridges the gap between new and old music while helping the former gain its stripes in a difficult industry.
During the 35th anniversary of Hard Rock, the legendary Motely Crue performed to a sold out crew. View some of the picture here that Getty Images took during the celebrations.
***This is a guest post.