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FDD Talk: The School of Rock Franchise Opportunity (Financial Performance Analysis, Estimated Costs, and Other Important Stuff You Need to Know)

by Franchise Chatter on January 29, 2016

in Child-Related Franchises, FDD Talk 2017: Children's Franchises, FDD Talk 2017: Miscellaneous Franchises, Franchise Earnings, Music Education Franchise



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School of Rock 2

In this FDD Talk post, you’ll learn the following:

  • Section I – Background information on the School of Rock franchise opportunity, including relevant news updates
  • Section II – Estimated initial investment for a School of Rock franchise, based on Item 7 of the company’s 2015 FDD
  • Section III – Presentation and analysis of School of Rock’s financial performance representations, based on Item 19 of the company’s 2015 FDD, including information on the:
  • 2014 average annual gross revenue; average student enrollment as of January 1, 2014; average student enrollment as of December 31, 2014; and average percentage increase in total enrollment from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014 for the 14 company-owned School of Rock businesses that were open during the 18-month period from July 1, 2013 to December 31, 2014
  • 2014 average annual gross revenue; average student enrollment as of January 1, 2014; average student enrollment as of December 31, 2014; and average percentage increase in total enrollment from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014 for the 92 franchised School of Rock businesses that were open during the 18-month period from July 1, 2013 to December 31, 2014

Section I – Background Information

It was back in the late 1990s when Paul Green started offering music lessons out of his home. In 2002 he opened the first permanent location for the Paul Green School of Rock Music in Philadelphia. After opening several locations, he started franchising the concept in 2005. Sterling Partners bought him out in 2009 and changed the name of the chain to School of Rock.

Green had stumbled upon a formula that works for after-school music instruction. It was more than just individual lessons in guitar, bass, vocals, drums, and keyboards. He found that the students who also participated in group jam sessions with more experienced musicians advanced much more rapidly than those who only had solo lessons.

School of Rock has a unique performance focus. Students of any skill level are accepted, and the goal is getting them on stage and performing in front of a real audience. The top students form a band and play gigs in their local area, and also compete to become members of an all-star band that tours regionally.

The chain has also been offering career development programming for working bands as well as a kind of graduate school for adult amateur musicians.

Since 2011, the chain has been expanding at a rate of 20-30 locations per year. With its more than 180 current locations serving more than 17,000 students in eight countries, here’s how School of Rock makes noise in the music franchise segment:

Media Spotlight

Early on, Green’s concept caught the attention of the media. Viacom’s VH1 channel came to his first location in Philadelphia and filmed for several days towards a proposed reality TV series but then disappeared.

Then in 2003 a couple of filmmakers decided to shoot a year-long documentary about the school. Half-way through, they heard that Viacom’s Paramount movie studio would be releasing School of Rock starring Jack Black. It was clearly an idea that stemmed from Green’s efforts, and served inadvertently as national advertising for the school and its growing number of locations.

The Full Experience

One of the keys to success is that students can go all the way from complete novice to performing in front of an audience in a real rock venue. There’s also support for developing songwriting and recording skills. All throughout, the school has found that the bands formed among the students result in great peer accountability for practice, rather than nagging parents.

Successful Grads

Graduates of School of Rock have gone on to establish successful careers in music. Michael Weisman of a Chicago location made it all the way to the next-to-last episode on The Glee Project. Eric and Julie Slick from a Philly location became the drummer and bassist for the Adrian Belew Power Trio. Other Philly grads include C.J. Tywoniak who appeared in the Rock of Ages film as a guitarist in the Wolfgang Von Colt band, and Madi Diaz whose songs have been featured on television programs like Drop Dead Diva and Army Wives. Chicago student Luke Sangerman became the youngest permanent performer with the Blue Man Group at age 16.

Section II – Estimated Costs

  • Please click here for detailed estimates of School of Rock franchise costs, based on Item 7 of the company’s 2015 FDD (updated).

Section III – Financial Performance Representations (Item 19, 2015 FDD) and Analysis



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