Jim DeStafney faces an interesting challenge. Getting your music store noticed in increasingly crowded retail venues, and on social media, can be a daunting task. However, his staff at Blues Angel Music in Pensacola FL hopes to go to the top of the queue after having been featured in an episode of Animal Planet’s cable TV series “Tanked” on November 1.
The Blues Angel Music episode features the construction and installation of a custom aquarium that’s also a working drum set. DeStafney’s wife, Nan, contacted the “Tanked” producers last year with the idea and, after months of planning and negotiation, the eight-drum kit was installed at the store September 17 to 18, with the TV production crew rolling the whole time.
“In the beginning, my main interest wasn’t the ‘Tanked’ television show; it was getting an aquarium in our store,” said Nan. “But, after realizing the investment involved, and convincing Yamaha to also donate a $5,000 drum set as the tank models, we realized that we had to be on the show.”
Wayde King and Brett Raymer, stars of “Tanked” and bosses at Acrylic Tank Manufacturing in Las Vegas, were at Blues Angel Music in Pensacola for the installation and were hands-on the entire time. As veterans of 76 episodes of “Tanked,” they know that a custom-themed aquarium is not only a very cool focal point, but also can seriously add to a business’ bottom line.
“It will bring people into the store, which will hopefully translate into sales. But not only that…it’s also a talk piece,” said Raymer. “They can say, ‘I have the first drum set aquarium. I’m one of the top 100 music stores in the country, and we have a one-of-a-kind drum set by Acrylic Tank Manufacturing that was featured on the ‘Tanked’ show.’”
Although not huge by aquarium standards, the drum set holds 100 gallons of salt water and 20 gallons of fresh water. The combination of the clear acrylic drums and variable-color lighting is easily the first thing that catches your eye as you enter the music store.
“They say dynamite comes in small packages. It doesn’t have to be super-large to have the WOW factor,” added Raymer.
Getting featured on “Tanked” doesn’t come inexpensively, but, according to both the DeStafneys and Raymer, if you figure in the equivalent ad budget to get this kind of coverage, it’s the deal of the century.
“You can buy a custom, one-of-a-kind ATM aquarium that’s featured on ‘Tanked’ and get 25 minutes of air time on multiple occasions in 200 countries around the world,” added Raymer. “For a company like Blues Angel Music, it’s a no-brainer.”
“When you consider the worldwide reach of the show and that our customer base is also around the world, it is absolutely worth the cost,” added Nan. “We ship guitars and other musical products to every state in the U.S.A. and to dozens of countries globally. Many of our distant customers will visit the Gulf Coast on vacation or business, and our unique ‘DrumAquarium Set’ will give them another good reason to visit Blues Angel Music while they’re in the area.”
For musicians, not only are the drums an amazing and realistic display, but, almost unbelievably, the drum set is also fully functional. Jim said that a working kit was mandatory. “The drum set had to be truly functional, not only as a fish tank and display piece but also as a percussion instrument,” he said. “Each drum is fitted with electronic drum triggers and pads. If you close your eyes and listen to them being played, you’d never know it was an aquarium.”
After the installation, the ‘Tanked’ crew returned to Las Vegas. Maintenance of the custom aquarium falls to a local company, in this case Allen Netzer of Reef Scapes in Pensacola. “Maintenance of the drum set aquarium should take only one to two hours per week, as we make sure the tanks and fish are healthy and change the fish around,” said Netzer. “We hope to keep it going indefinitely.”