Primary Blog/Gigging Musician Podcast/Episode 140 - High-Paying Gig Series: Part #2 Corporate Events

Episode 140 - High-Paying Gig Series: Part #2 Corporate Events

Thursday, May 18, 2023

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Episode Recap

In this episode, Jared continues his series on high paying gig types with a focus on corporate events. Corporate events are hosted by companies for business reasons, such as employee or client appreciation, and can be well paying gigs for musicians. Jared shares his experience playing corporate events, including a variety of events he's played and the benefits of corporate events for companies. He also discusses the ease of playing corporate events, as companies typically have professional event planners and AV teams, creating a structured timeline and clear expectations for the musician. Additionally, Jared shares tips for networking with event planners and getting hired for corporate events. If you're interested in playing corporate events and want to learn more, this episode is a must-listen.

Best Quote

"These events help reduce the churn, which is basically just the turnover of their employees, you know, the more loyal employee is, the less likely they are to quit and jump ship to another job that might be higher paying and better quality. So that's one of the reasons the other is to attract and keep new clients. So you know, they might host these events and invite prospective clients to them, give those clients a good time, you know, wine and dine them. That's a phrase that's thrown around a lot. So they'll spend money to make money from these clients."


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Hey, what's up gigging pros! Its Jared Judge, welcome to another episode of The Gigging Msician Podcast.

This is the second episode in our high paying gig series. Last episode, we chatted about the high paying gig type of weddings, which was awesome, I got some great feedback on that. And I love playing weddings.

But of course, it's not for everybody. Or even if it is for you, perhaps you want some other gigs as well. And so today is about corporate events. Who here has played corporate events, I've played many over the course of my career as a musician. And I also love a corporate events.

So those of you who do not know what a corporate event is, these are events hosted by a company for the purpose of some sort of business reason, whether that is to, you know, show their employees appreciation, or, for example, like this past December, I played a corporate holiday party, inside the break room of a corporation, it was like an office building that was up on the fourth floor in the break room, which was not a huge space, but they hired an electric violinist to play holiday tunes, while they had their holiday party for employee appreciation, very well paying gig to awesome.

But then there are also the higher scale corporate events. For example, I once played this, he was an anniversary of the company, like 50 years in business for an investment firm.

And that was a large scale event, they rented out a ballroom, they actually constructed a stage. And then they had a PA system, like a whole sound production, AV team put that together. And we plugged into their their AV system.

Sorry, it's a little early. It's tripping over my words today. So their large scale ones. And that was a, they invited employees and clients to that, and they had a large budget for entertainment that we were able to benefit from.

So corporate events are amazing. As I mentioned before, they're typically to show their employees or clients appreciation, or their families. And ultimately, one of the big philosophies like why would corporations host these, you know, apart from it just being a nice thing to do to show appreciation.

The big reason is a business reason like businesses, one of the reasons businesses exist is to make their owners money. And so these events are actually in service of that. I always say it takes money to make money.

And so these corporations, they will spend large amounts of money, you know, 10s, or hundreds of 1000s of dollars, possibly even millions producing these events, because it increases the loyalty of those employees.

Which, you know, if you're in a position to hire employees, you know that it is an expensive process, because you have to spend your time and money which time is money in a corporation, or you have to spend your time and money searching for a new employee.

And then you also have to spend time and money training that employee, which is risky, because the employee might not stick around for a while.

So these events help reduce the churn, which is basically just the turnover of their employees, you know, the more loyal employee is, the less likely they are to quit and jump ship to another job that might be higher paying and better, better quality.

So that's one of the reasons the other is to attract and keep new clients. So you know, they might host these events and invite prospective clients to them, give those clients a good time, you know, wine and dine them.

That's a phrase that's thrown around a lot. So they'll spend money to make money from these clients. So that's another reason why and they want entertainment, to give these clients a good experience.

And then once they have clients, you know, it's it's tough in our world, our gigs tend to be unless you're like, a resident artist at a certain restaurant or something, they tend to be one and done, meaning the client will hire you once.

And then you typically won't hear from them. Unless like, yeah, it's a repeat gig, but like weddings are not repeat gigs, some corporate events or repeat gigs, but they do tend to want variety from event to event.

But with corporations, their clients are typically repeat customers, you know, maybe they're paying a monthly fee or a yearly yearly fee. And these events, again, are part of the value that these clients get when they hire XYZ company.

So if they get that experience is another like reason for them to stay a loyal customer. So again, the corporation is spending money to make money, which I don't think musicians do enough.

You know, we need To invest in ourselves, not just in buying new equipment, but also in sharpening our business skills. So anyway, corporate events are amazing. They are so easy to do.

I mean, I'm not gonna say that it's easy to make those connections to get hired. Although if you know the strategy is, and a lot of it is involved with networking with the right people.

In fact, there is a networking organization that has chapters across the country, called MPI stands for Meeting Planners International, where a lot of these corporate event planners hang out.

And if you can brush elbows with them, make some connections, and introduce them to what you do. Then they're like, oh, yeah, we're planning Northwestern Mutual's annual party. And we could totally use a jazz trio like you.

That's actually a very effective strategy. But I say that they're easy to do, because once you are hired, there's not a lot of legwork to do. Like with weddings, there is a bit of legwork, and planning, because they have all those timing details that I talked about last episode.

But with corporations, typically they have typically, the first thing is they have a professional event planner running the entire thing, like a lot of weddings are just planned by the couple themselves, which makes it a challenging process.

But corporate of employers typically have a professional event planner, this is not their first rodeo. And so they are very structured with the itinerary they know exactly when the music is going to be playing, they literally create timelines and email them to you.

They create diagrams of the ballroom, and they have a little square marked off where the band is going to set up. They know that bands need AV.

So they make sure that they have AV and connect the band with the AV person where you can talk about stage plot and what kind of inputs you need.

And again, they hire AV teams, just another plus because you don't have to run your own sound or hire your own sound person.

So typically, what happens is they hire you, then maybe you have a planning meeting with the the event planner, the AV team representative might be there to you talk about the timeline, you know, when do you set up? When's loading? What is the loading situation? How close are you to an elevator, what kind of power do you need, and then they hand you over to the AV person, they ask you what kind of inputs you need.

And then you're given a very clear timeline, you know, you start playing at six o'clock, stop playing at seven. And then loadout is at nine o'clock, or whatever. And by the way, you usually get fed at these events too, which is really nice.

Weddings, sometimes they offer you to get fed. But sometimes you just show up play and go home. But corporate events, oftentimes they will invite you and say, hey, yeah, we we've got meals for the band.

And they even might say help yourself to some cocktails, too. And that's up to you if you want to risk that. I typically do not. But that's because I'm in it for the long game. And I want to be seen as a professional from start to finish.

So I will say, sometimes I still do accept that if I'm completely done with my responsibilities. Like, you know, I'm I'm completely loaded out, I no longer have to play. And now it's just, Hey, have a glass of wine with the dinner that they offer you for free.

So anyway, yeah, on the day of the event, you know, you get there early, you go to the loading dock, or wherever they have you loading in, you go and load in, you hook up with the AV people and get your inputs all plugged into their mixing board.

And then we typically they even have a little more like a theater production where they have a stage manager, which might actually be the same event planner that you worked with.

And they usually have like a headset on and they'll communicate with you when when it's your time to start. And then you you play. And then the event planner will take over when the when it's time is done.

Oftentimes, that's when like the CEO or some manager will get on stage and start welcoming everybody in introducing the speeches and everything. And that's when you You are finished. So you play the gig.

And then you load out and have your meal if it's given to you. And then you get a nice big fat paycheck. So again, super easy gig. You oftentimes in corporate events, like depends on the gig, of course.

But a lot of corporate events tend to be cocktail hours, which is appropriate for all kinds of musicians where you're playing background music, and in fact, one of these, my I have a jazz group also, it's called Dream City jazz.

It's kind of an extension of my string quartet up in Milwaukee. Three Piece jazz combo piano drum space. and they were recently hired on that recently it was last summer, they were hired to do a corporate event in the casino, and you're at some one of the ballrooms there.

And there was a big stage. And they were playing for the cocktail hour. So it was actually like, the biggest sound production. For a Cocktail Jazz I've ever seen. It was like, literally concert quality speakers.

They might have even had a line array of speakers for a jazz combo, which was amazing. They sounded so so good. But then they were background music. It was a gigantic ballroom, so they really needed all the speakers.

But yeah, that getting hired for that did not really take any work at all. In fact, it was because of my connection with a wedding planner, through the strings, strings group. This wedding planner, also does corporate events.

And he said, Hey, Jared, you know, any jazz musicians? Like, I'm glad you asked, here's Dream City Jazz, here's our price quote. He's like, Yeah, let's book them. So literally no work to sell. You just asked? And I said yes.

And then give them a price. He said, Yep, that works. Let's do it, sign the contract. And then, you know, got the players, had them show up, play and paid them. So yeah, connections and relationship building, I one of the keys for this.

So those are corporate events, they are very high paying again, the whole concept is corporations spend money to make money. And you are one of those expenses.

And so get network with the right people, and be a professional person to work with. And your act also needs to be professional from start to finish in order to maintain these relationships, that you don't want to get a gig and then get drunk on the job and blow it and then never be asked to work corporate events again.

So let's say David had corporate events, they are amazing gigs, easy to play. They pay very well. And I love them. I hope you consider playing them. I do believe that all kinds of musicians are eligible for these.

So even if you think you're not, you know, consider it and definitely try. What are you starting to lose by trying? Alright, well, thank you for tuning in to another episode of The Gigging Musician Podcast.

By the way, if you want some help, getting corporate events and for your act, whether you're a soloist or a large group, I would love to help you.

I have a couple spots left on my calendar for a free breakthrough strategy session to help you come up with a game plan to get yourself some corporate events.

So go to That's f u l l t i m e c a l l and I'd be happy to hop on zoom with you and chat. But I only have a couple more of these spots left. So if you want one, grab them before they are all gotten. Alright, thanks for tuning in.

And remember, "You are just one gig away!".

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Episode 229 - The Power of Networking and Recommendations in the Music Industry

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Episode 222 - Navigating the Wedding Expo Scene: A Musician's Journey to Success

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