Harvard business professor analyzes Marquee, credits DJs for 'reinventing the business of nightlife'
In 2003, Jason Strauss and Noah Tepperberg opened Marquee in New York City. A decade later, the nightclub still stands at 10th avenue — according to Harvard Business Professor Anita Elberse, exceeding the 18-month “typical lifespan of nightclubs in Manhattan” by over eight years.
Publishing two studies on Strauss and Tepperberg’s success with Marquee, Elberse delves into the structure behind the brand. Originally crediting revenues to bottle service in her first report, “Marquee: The Business of Nightlife,” her second take explores the impact that high-profile DJs have had on the club. With revenues of the bottle service model declining from $15 million to $5 million between 2007 and 2011, attention shifts to dance music in her second study, “Marquee: Reinventing the Business of Nightlife.”
In analyzing Strauss and Tepperberg’s model for the second time, the Harvard professor credits “focusing on electronic dance music and superstar DJs” for the clubs longevity — which has seen a high-grossing move to Las Vegas in 2010 and a multi-million dollar renovation to its Manhattan location in 2012.
In her most recent study, Elberse claims: “a venue that once was all about selling high-priced alcohol delivered to table customers (would) be converted into one that was at least as much about selling tickets to heavily marketed events featuring A-list and up-and-coming DJs.”
Tepperberg notes that they “saw this whole EDM thing was really blowing up” and “bet on it in New York,” confirming Elberse’s study, which had already become known when Marquee reopened last year. One of the aforementioned EDM titans, Chuckie, sees the success first hand and says that “club owners are learning that electronic music is the way to get people in the door. The DJ is the crowd-puller, the ticket-seller.”
Any fan of electronic music that has found nightlife hubs as their dance venues could confirm that the DJ is what pulled them through the door, but the Harvard professor’s findings are the results of Marquee’s team who’s acclimated to the needs of their clientele.
And in that case, Noah Tepperberg even removes the DJ from the conversation to say it best: “It’s not the name of the club or the brand or the neighborhood that’s most important. Now people want an experience they can share with friends and show they were there.”