For Harris Lane, his whole life has been about music.
Hank Lane Music was founded 45 years ago by Harris’ father, Hank Lane, along with DeeAnn Cowart and Marc Stevens, to create one-of-a-kind musical experiences for events of all kinds in New York City. The company was behind some of New York’s most notable weddings, galas and high-profile charity events, such as the grand reopening of the 5th Avenue landmark Tiffany & Co.
Today, partners Harris Lane and Erik Marshall are running the show.
“We’ve been doing this our whole lives,” Lane said. “We started when we were teenagers at all of these private events. We were roadies, carrying the equipment. We were musicians ourselves.”
Following their humble beginnings, the duo quickly rose the ranks within the family business — learning the business side of things, expanding the music library and working with contract department hiring and facilities. “Eventually we both became band leaders over the weekends while working in the office during the week,” said Marshall.
Eventually Hank Lane took a back seat, allowing for the next generation to rise and for the company itself to grow its brand.
“We’ve grown in size, but we’re still a small family business,” Harris Lane said. “We don’t have a high rate of turnover, and people are with us 10 to 12 years, since we have so much promotion from within.”
But creating a name for yourself within an established business can have its challenges, especially when your name is on the door, Lane said.
“I didn’t want to just be known as Hank’s son,” he said. “For me, it was a little harder each step of the way. I always had to prove myself and go the extra mile. With a lot of hard work and help from Erik, I did make a name for myself. That was the hardest part of transitioning.”
Lane and Marshall are focused on discovering and harnessing new performers who also have an interest in business. “We’re continuing our legacy and bringing Hank Lane Music into other markets like Philadelphia and South Florida,” Marshall said.
As they look to the future with a budding third generation waiting in the wings, the duo understand the need for a family business to continue to keep up with times to be successful.
“My father did business a certain way, and we learned how to do it that way,” Lane said. “But through the years, we’ve had to learn how to run it according to today’s standards. For example, some people getting married today, with an average age of late 20s to mid-30s, have a different mindset than those getting married in 1993. We’re changing and shifting the way we present our products.”