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|JOEL WEINSHANKER HAS MORE PLANS FOR THE FUTURE
August 31, 2017 - EIN / Elvis Express Radio
|When investor Joel Weinshanker first looked at the auction of Elvis Presley assets five years ago, it was not a pretty picture. Lisa Marie had sold the majority of EPE to Robert
Sillerman whose financial woes have been well-documented in recent years.
"Sillerman had aggregated radio stations before, and he had all these grandiose ideas, but at end of the day, he was kind of a snake oil salesman," says Weinshanker, now the
majority owner in EPE and managing director of Graceland Holdings.
What EPE, Priscilla and Lisa Marie have done, with Authentic Brands Group, in the last four years has been all-encompassing. The property sits on 138 acres and employs 500. It
still sees 600,000 visitors annually and the number is not declining, despite the first generation of Elvis fans leaving the proverbial building in increasing numbers.
In fact, says Weinshanker, the largest demographic of Elvis fans these days is 28- to 35-year-old women. "A lot of them are inked disproportionately," he observes. "And
they will tell you there hasn't been a man alive as sexy as black leather 'Comeback Special' Elvis."
Like Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali, Presley has become a pop culture icon, but maintaining that big a legacy can be tricky, so Weinshanker created a "15-year plan" that
includes the 450-room "Guest House."
But that's not to say that the business of Elvis is all nostalgia. Weinshanker reveals that in the new "Blade Runner" movie, the King makes an extended cameo. Elvis also draws
record numbers for SiriusXM (where its Elvis station is the most popular celebrity-themed destination), and venues in Europe and Australia where Elvis' performance with the Royal
Philharmonic had strong ticket sales, but the previously discussed "hologram tour" is however still not on the cards.
"It's a big 'if,' says Weinshanker. "My position is that you can never create what Elvis had, which is something you can't put a finger on or describe. It's like having a computer create
a great painting."
Instead, efforts are being put towards a live events venue that would draw acts to Graceland, and the 300,000 square-foot Musem complex. Elvis still sells a boatload of physical
product, but he has some catching up to do in the streaming sector, where Michael Jackson outperforms him.
Still, Weinshanker adds, "If Forbes gets its numbers right, Elvis will be the No. 1 dead celebrity of 2017."
Indeed, media impressions are in the billions 40 years after his death, and Graceland is seeing more revenue than ever in its 35-year-history. But just four years into the 15-year
plan, there is much more ahead. "Estates falter when their focus is only trying to make money this year, and not creating a place, a destination that reminds people how great the
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