EXCLUSIVE: Sci-fi and fantasy publisher Heavy Metal, global talent representation company Range Media Partners and Oscar-nominated/Emmy-winning filmmaker Joe Berlinger have joined forces to create Classick Club, a forward-thinking blockchain, NFT and Web3 company focused on bringing the prestige and counterculture of classic rock ‘n’ roll into the nascent metaverse.
Through its immersive and interactive new platform, Classick Club will allow fans to collect and connect with their favorite artists via unique digital and IRL experiences. Users will create customizable avatars and explore and interact within an ever-evolving world based on rock music’s most iconic venues and locales. They also will be able to build and exhibit personal collections of NFTs purchased both from a marketplace and earned from in-game experiences.
“I have been lucky enough to explore my love of music and storytelling in such films as Metallica: Some Kind of Monster and my Paul Simon documentary Under African Skies,” said Berlinger. “Being able to take music storytelling and fan engagement to the next level through Classick Club’s focus on the intersection of NFTs, collectibles and the metaverse is a storyteller’s dream. The key to all great music programming is intimacy, access and authenticity, and Classick Club is going to re-define that experience for fans.”
Classick Club’s founding partners are Berlinger, Guitar Hero licensing architect David Iscove, Range Media founding partner Michael Cooper, Heavy Metal’s CEO Matthew Medney and President Tommy Coriale and early-stage crypto investor/Artefy founder Marshall Lees. The leadership team is also supported by the full breadth of both Range’s and Heavy Metal’s teams and resources.
“I have always dreamt of creating a space where fans and the artists who have given us so much can all come together under one roof,” Cooper said. “Where they can be together and exchange their artifacts and share in their stories. A place to go to the most iconic venues, to see shows, watch documentaries, and build your own galleries of rare items. Most importantly, it’s a world of expression where you can be anyone you want. Welcome to Classick Club. Welcome home.”
Classick Club will drop its first teaser video in early March. The new company will leverage the best-in-class ecosystem of companies such as Megaverse to help build its worlds and activations. Classick Club will be powered by the BECx Token, which will be launched later this year, with all images cleared with the estate or copyright holders prior to sale.
“The spirit, attitude and expression of rock ’n’ roll is unlike anything else,” Classick Club’s founders said. “Crossing race, age, culture and country, the genre is a symbol of unity throughout our collective civilization. Classick Club is here to manifest that belief system to the new blockchain, metaverse and web 3 world.”
The conception for this new interactive platform came during a bike ride Medney was on while on the phone with Cooper. While Cooper was supposed to be making an introduction between a client and Medney, Cooper spent a ton of the time talking about his obsessive love for heavy metal/rock ‘n’ roll T-shirts, and as the call continued, Medney quickly came to the thought at how these shirts were NFTs because of all the reasons they meant so much to the person wearing them.
“My thought was, these shirts created these sort of nostalgic memories the same way a ticket stub does, and this was sort of the initial inkling of how we came up with Classick Club,” Medney said in an interview with Deadline.
After that initial call, Medney would circle back with Cooper in February 2021, when the NFT market was starting to pick up steam and touched on what that love of those items, like those T-shirts, meant and how it could lead to a bigger idea in the grand scheme of things. They soon brought in Berlinger, and the trio came up with the idea of this company that could occupy this space to celebrate fans just like Cooper.
“We kind of all came together at first through a love of music and then realized that there was an opportunity here to create a platform using metaverse/block 3 chain technology that is bridging this gap between kids today who want to connect with their parents of yesteryear and a reflective look at ’70s and ’80s music, kind of like that sweet spot Marvel hit on when they first took off in 2008,” Medney said.
Cooper goes on to compare it to what Fortnite did for his son when he entered that world, though while on a different spectrum, that Fortnite universe still brought his son immense joy when he was immersed in it and saw the same potential with Classick Club for music lovers.
“We started off narrowly talking about shirts and then we thought if we had six founding fathers who needed and loved music that much, that you could come home at night, the way my son does with his friends, and be who you want to be,” Cooper said. “You can walk the [Sunset] Strip, be social at the Roxy, here there is a cool new documentary on [David] Bowie and go watch, and just start celebrating being under one roof where had those same interests you had and you can all be who you want to be.”
As for Berlinger, his interest in this new platform came from his love of music and music programming and for him this was an opportunity to take that music doc and elevate it to the next level and saw that this metaverse could make that fan engagement that much more interactive and engaging unlike anything out there for rock fans at this point.
“Can you imagine meeting a friend backstage at a Metallica meet-and-greet, and then you suddenly pull out and enter this incredible concert experience, and then you suddenly click on a documentary that somebody has made,” Berlinger said. “It’s just a way to bring people together at a whole new level. It’s not just about selling NFTs or having a rock experience — it’s a whole universe of storytelling opportunities.”
As for the future of Classick Club, in five or 10 years they see it at first starting at the center of telling the story of ’70s and ’80s rock music but then transition to a bigger movement based on the attitude of the IP.
“If you get it right, its all about authenticity,” Cooper said. “We understand the brand, we have a community, we celebrate this world and all these artists. We think we have brought together a boundless ecosystem where you can add any sort of storytelling but everyone is together celebrating their memories and being included in that movement.”
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