Classic Rock and the Art of Inventory Control

If there was ever a lesson in always counting the inventory, then the story of Wolfgang’s Vault needs to be told.

WV is the largest online repository of rock music and memorabilia, dating from the 1960s through the 1980s.  Hundreds of original musical recordings have been re-discovered including concerts from the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen, U2 and Jefferson Airplane to name but a few famous performers.  The memorabilia includes millions of actual concert posters, t-shirts and concert tickets leading some rock historians to call this the biggest archive of classic rock history ever assembled in one place.

The origin of this treasure trove were the collections of legendary music promoter Bill Graham. Many say Graham literally invented the concept of the modern rock concert. Graham saved anything and everything from each concert he ever put on, from his early days in San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury right up to his untimely passing in 1991.

Upon his death the Company, Bill Graham Presents, was sold and resold several times to a variety of industry players.   All of Bill’s huge collection was stored in a warehouse below the office, unknown to any of the proprietors. Carelessly, none of them ever bothered to look through the “junk”, until Bill Sagan bought the company. Sagan was a more diligent type so ventured into the warehouse right after closing the deal.  He immediately understood his good fortune.  A couple of years of secretly cataloguing and valuing everything turned into what is now Wolfgang’s Vault (named after Bill Graham’s given first name).  Today, experts have estimated the value of WV’s recordings and memorabilia to be around $100M.  Not a bad return on assets and capital.  Currently, VW’s recordings are available for free with the collectibles offered through an online store.

Clearly, counting the inventory can sometimes pay off big time.

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