School of Rock has had a tremendous year so far, and 2019 looks just as promising.
The music franchise, which focuses on performance-based music education, averages about 20 new schools per year. In 2018, it opened 21 units.
“If you look at our development this year we have been growing in a combo of existing and new markets and part of that reason is about a third of our development has been with existing franchisees who are looking to expand,” School of Rock Chief Development Officer Tony Padulo said.
The brand has “very aggressive” plans for both national and international growth over the next year, according to Padulo.
Domestically, the brand plans to have 50 new units either open or in the development phase over the next 18-24 months. On the international side, School of Rock is targeting to open in one to two new countries this year, followed by another two in 2020.
Markets in which School of Rock already has a presence and in which additional locations are currently scheduled to open include Pasadena, California, North Providence, Rhode Island, North Miami, Florida, Boston and Round Rock, Texas.
New markets in which a School of Rock location either recently opened or will open soon include Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, New Braunfels, Texas, Louisville, Kentucky, White Plains, New York, Hoboken, New Jersey and Greenwich, Connecticut. School of Rock also opened in New Orleans earlier this year.
“Those are all new markets that we’re really excited about,” Padulo said.
School of Rock has some very specific target market goals for 2019. The company is specifically targeting the New York metropolitan area and wants to open more schools in Brooklyn. One School of Rock location in development will be in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg. San Francisco is also a key target market.
“Boston is a key target market for us next year as well,” Padulo said.
On the international side, School of Rock opened for the first time in Lima, Peru, where it’s doing “extremely well,” according to Padulo. The brand has six units in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and, in August, a School of Rock center opened in Rio de Janeiro. By the end of 2019, School of Rock will have three more schools in Brazil and an additional location in Chile.
While School of Rock would love to break into a few specific markets, it still wants to expand everywhere.
“We still have lots of room to grow,” Padulo said. “We feel there’s an urgent need for growth. It’s not market-specific because I think our market transcends any market where there’s a love of music and rock and roll specifically.”
School of Rock also developed major partnerships in 2018 that will help pave the way for a successful road ahead. Padulo said the brand is focused on “truly becoming the most influential community of music creators in the world,” and these partnerships will help the company meet that goal.
“We’ve entered into an agreement with a company called Hal Leonard, which is probably the largest publisher of music in the world. Our worldwide agreement allows our franchisees to record music and use it for their personal websites and have the rights to show the videos,” Padulo said. “Because of sync rights you typically can’t do that, but we’ve negotiated the professional rights for about 40 songs we can do. We’ve also just entered a partnership with APG (Artist Publishing Group), which represents some of the biggest artists in the world, and they are now looking to School of Rock for recruitment purposes. School of Rock is where the next generation of rock stars is coming from, and these initiatives we’ve started over the past year will help.”
Such partnerships, he said, help make the School of Rock concept an exciting and dynamic one and build a strong foundation for it moving forward.
On average, a School of Rock franchise hires 15 to 20 employees. Typically, there is a general manager, a music director, a studio coordinator and music instructors.
Padulo described the ideal School of Rock franchisee as someone who has a passion for working with children. While School of Rock has adult programs, the majority of the business is focused on its younger students.
Of course, a School of Rock franchisee must also have a passion for music.
“Those to me are the two most important parts,” Padulo said.
Franchisees must also possess the more straightforward basics, including financial capabilities and business acumen. If they have not previously operated a business, they should at least have management experience.
“This is a people business,” Padulo said. “Managing staff and having good communication skills - those are really the key.”
Padulo loves the School of Rock brand, and he’s thrilled about the success it’s had over the past year, as well as what the future has in store.
“The things that have been happening this year have been incredible new initiatives,” he said. “We have new programs, new relationships and partnerships with third parties. This gives additional visibility and clout to the brand. The results we’ve seen over the last 18 months have truly been very exciting. The new school openings we’ve had have been among the strongest openings in our history. It’s all very exciting.”
School of Rock currently has more than 220 locations operating. The startup costs of a School of Rock franchise range from $136,850 to $339,100. The franchise fee is $49,500. To learn more about owning a School of Rock franchise, visit https://franchising.schoolofrock.com/.