One of the hottest trends right now in corporate entertainment is hiring songwriters. Maybe it
was the spotlight on The Bluebird Cafe on the television show Nashville, or a personal visit to a
songwriters’ round that sparked the interest, but whatever the reason, songwriter shows are an
excellent and entertaining option for hearing hit songs and the stories behind the songs.
However, before booking any songwriters, here are some points you need to think about.
First, the budget. How much you have to spend will help to guide how many songwriters you
get and the level of songwriters you can book. Typically, the average show has three
songwriters, but if your budget is tight you can go with one or two. How many hits a songwriter has will also affect his or her cost; the more hits, the more money the songwriter gets paid. Another bonus of a songwriter show is the production costs involved. Since they are typically acoustic sets with minimal lights and sound these shows are much more affordable.
Next is the purpose of your event. Songwriter shows don’t work during a networking reception.These shows work best when the audience is seated and listening to the stories and songs. Most songwriters will not want to try to talk over others’ conversations. You also need to make sure that the size of the group isn’t so large that the entertainment value is lost.
You also need to consider the length of your event. The average show lasts 60 - 75 minutes for a private event, with the maximum time being about 90 minutes. The best guideline to follow is an average of 30 minutes per songwriter, but do not go over 90 minutes or you start to lose your audience. I have some songwriters that can do a 45 - 60 minute solo show, but that is because they have enough #1 songs and stories in their repertoire that they can keep the audience engaged.
Also, you need to look at the configuration of the songwriters you choose if you decide to go
with more than one writer. Most songwriters write with at least one other person, and each one has preferences about who they write and perform with. I had a client who wanted two specific songwriters, but I had to make sure that they didn’t mind doing a show together. Another client wanted three songwriters, but only knew one name to give me, so I asked the songwriter to find me two other writers he could do the show with. This guaranteed a cohesiveness and comfort level in the performance, and the way the songwriters were able to tell stories and make each other and the audience laugh made it a memorable experience for everyone. In conclusion, booking songwriters for your next event is a fresh and fun idea, as long as you remember to think about your budget, overall event goals and who you want up there performing for your guests. If you do it right, a songwriter show is a win-win for everyone.