Booking corporate entertainment is a huge piece of this music booking industry that is often overlooked by many agencies. Do you want to go after a bigger piece of that pie? The secret to success in the corporate niche is finding and engaging bands suited for these kinds of events. Just what are the qualities of the perfect corporate band?
For our purposes, let’s assume the band is talented and their song list and genre match the audience for the event. Matching audience demographics to band selection is a whole other blog topic for a future post. So, what other traits of a band would go even further in making the entertainment booked for a corporate event a rousing success?
Be Versatile: As far as characteristics go, a band needs to be versatile, flexible, approachable and talented enough to adapt on the fly. For example, suppose a guest has a song request. How cool would you be if you could pull this off? Nothing gets good reviews from talent buyers like a pleased audience. As an artist, don’t be too big for your britches and don’t be stubborn. Develop a big song book to fall back on. Don’t rely just on your memorized set list. Keep updating your book and keep learning the HITS!
Be sure to practice some of these other songs during your rehearsals. In addition, have an iPod or other device on standby full of songs. Even be ready to buy a song at the last minute, if necessary.
Never Decline a Request: A good band should be able to “fake” a song. If not, don’t be afraid to use your other tools to figure it out or find something similar. You can say, “Sorry, we don’t know that one, but how about …?” Suggest another song in a similar vein. This usually satisfies them. In the booking-corporate-entertainment world “no” is not an acceptable answer, no matter how nice you say it.
Meet Audience Expectations: Everyone expects more than they are paying for. This is human nature. A good band for booking at corporate events will have the resources on site to throw something together during a break if necessary. They come up with a way to give their audience what they want, even if it means writing the cords on a napkin.
Read Their Audience: Being able to read a crowd is another characteristic of a band you are looking for when booking corporate entertainment. For example, the band plays a 45 minute jazz set during the meet, greet, and cocktails time slot. Then they take a break while a D.J. is playing songs via a pre-scripted request list. Afterward, the band comes back out for the second set. This set is important as a crowd reader.
Do they come out blasting a high rhythm rock & roll song while some people are finishing up dinner and mingling? Absolutely not! They would choose something softer and slower. Once the ice is broken and people are getting on the floor, the entertainers will need to work the room, read the room, and keep them on the dance floor once they are there.
A quality act needs have to have flow to their set list, and it should evolve from reading the room. It should go something like this: better seen than heard; then move into seen and heard; then nothing but heard. At this stage, they are blowing their socks off and rockin’ the room! A good corporate entertainment booking band will know how to pace the tempo of their music. After 2 or 3 big songs, they will slow it down with a love song to give the audience time to rest. Not everyone is a dancing athlete. A typical audience is made up of all kinds of people, including, let’s say, those who thoroughly enjoy their food.
Other Features of Good Corporate Bands:
- Their stage lighting is on point with the music type.
- They are responsive, including backing the music down when asked or switching the type of music.
- They engage their audience. If they are not dancing, they talk them into it by using their stage and mic presence. For example, they encourage them; tell them the dance floor is open; and add in some humor. A good band can smooth talk the crowd into getting out of the seats and on to the dance floor.
Booking corporate entertainment is all about giving the audience what they want. If a band can give them something they didn’t even know they wanted, that’s a money maker! When the audience is happy, the talent buyer is happy. That means more bookings down the road for the booking agency. That’s why it’s very important that those booking corporate entertainment choose the right band for their events.