Inc. magazine profiles the global success story of music and audio innovator Hartley Peavey in its latest installment of “How I Did It,” a feature series told by the people who live the real stories of America’s biggest successes.
Hartley Peavey is the founder, CEO and sole owner of Peavey Electronics Corporation, one of the world’s largest manufacturers and suppliers of musical and professional audio equipment. In this edition of “How I Did It,” Inc. details the organic success of the company Peavey built from the ground up into a technology leader that continues to drive the industry forward today.
“Hartley Peavey dreamed of becoming a rock star,” writes Inc.’s Kasey Wehrum. “Though he lacked the chops to become the next Chuck Berry, his name has been etched into the pantheon of rock ‘n’ roll history.”
Excerpts from Hartley Peavey’s story, as told to Inc.:
“When my band mates needed an amp or a PA system, I would build it. After I built all their gear, they sat me down and told me I was out of the band. That was the turning point. I had to look in the mirror and be totally honest with myself. I said, ‘OK, you’re not going to be a rock star. So what are you going to do with the rest of your life?’”
“We introduced our first digitally controlled sound system, called MediaMatrix®, in 1993. We had to go all over the country convincing people that computers were reliable enough to control their sound systems. Today, it’s in use just about everywhere—the U.S. Capitol building, the parliament house in China, and in airports and stadiums all over the world.”
“One thing about Peavey is that we owe the bank nothing … I go out on the factory floor and I see a resistor on the [floor], I pick it up. That’s a penny to me.”
“There are some things that I would change, but not many. Would I have given it all up to become a rock star? Absolutely.”
Since building his first guitar amplifier in 1957, Hartley Peavey has established a legacy of innovations—including more than 180 patents worldwide—that has helped shape the way we hear and play music. Peavey Electronics has ushered in great advancements in the science of sound, such as pioneering the use of computers to make better guitars, and by creating the first computer-configurable audio system, a move that triggered a digital revolution in the audio industry.
Through his creations, Hartley Peavey has enabled millions of people to enhance their lives with music, launch careers and inspire the world. His accomplishments are celebrated around the world, from patent and trademark offices to Hollywood’s Rock Walk of Fame, and in the more than 130 countries where Peavey products are sold.
Founded in 1965, Peavey® is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of musical instruments and professional sound equipment. Peavey has earned more than 180 patents and produces more than 2,000 products, which are distributed throughout the United States and to 136 other countries. Peavey and its MediaMatrix®, Architectural Acoustics®, Crest Audio®, Composite Acoustics® and Trace Elliot® brands and affiliates can be found on concert stages and in more than 5,000 airports, stadiums, theme parks and other venues around the world. To find out more, visit www.peavey.com.