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Don't Like the Band at the Company Event? The Boomers Control the Checkbook...

Bands and entertainment at the company event - you know the drill.  Unless you're an ultra-hip company with an average age of 30, the entertainment will be - let's just say - free of risk. 

That sucks you say?  Do tell.  If you were in charge, you'd be making the same call.  There are a lot of Hall_and_Oates reasons that the entertainment at the next company party or get together is going to be vanilla.  Let's count the top 4 reasons down:

4. Hot acts won't play your company picnic.   You can get .38 Special at your next company gig.  I know this because they played last summer at the County Fair in the area I grew up in.  They were hot in the late 70's, not today.  You're not getting anyone of note to play at your company or organization function, unless you book a blast from the past as a novelty.  Which is what we currently mock, right?

3. Heroin addictions don't sell at your company well when your co-workers click through to the bio of the band you booked.  I know.  You think Everclear makes sense to book for the Christmas party.  Me too.  There's just this one little problem.  When Art brakes out into a rough version of "Heroin Girl", we'll lose our jobs - which is why if we were in charge we'd never book them.  It's easy to complain from the seats we're in.

2. Your taste is an outlier - which means you're the freak, not them.  I love the fact that you're sold on the coffee house alternative rock vibe.  You know the one, where everyone has an acoustic guitar and we all sit campfire style and talk about issues in between songs.  There's just this one problem - we could book that group, and everyone would sit on their hands and wonder where the granola buffet is.  Meanwhile, while the Indigo Girls are on break, someone would plug their iPhone and fire up Pandora to deliver "Baby Got Back" by Sir-Mix-A-Lot.  Everyone would go crazy and the Indigo Girls would refuse to come back out.   It's called "Pop" music for a reason - it's popular with the masses.  Your taste, while impressively cool, is a niche at best. 

And the number one reason the band at your company shindig is going to be a bit boring...

1. The boomers control the checkbook.  Let's face it, you're complaining about the entertainment being watered down.  SHRM just annouced that they'll have Hall and Oates as the musical entertainment at SHRM 2010, and the collective groan from the Y's and the X's was immediate. Now, I liked Hall and Oates back in the day ("whoa, here she comes") and always thought that Hall looked like Dennis Leary with a French twist, and Oates looked like Davey Lopez, but their presence at the show doesn't excite me.  But I get it - the people with the checkbook - the boomers - are down with the early days of MTV when they where in college and just getting started in their careers.

If you're critical of the music selection for a company or organizational event, just remember - you don't control the checkbook, the boomers do. 

So suck it up and lighten up, because every meaningful corporate event you attend over the next decade is gong to feature the music of the boomers.  You can only hope that ZZ Top is out there somewhere for rent and your boomer is 52 (which means ZZ Top is on their iPod).


Kelly Dingee

And here I thought Hall&Oates was a brilliant choice...

Appeal to NextGen because of "500 Days of Summer"....that's why my 15 year old likes 'em...

Appeal to Gen X, because like me, you've got a fond memory - mine is my art teacher singing "sarah smile" while we painted during 4th grade art class...a

And the Boomers because they saw H&O in their heyday....

Poor SHRM - you can't make everyone happy...but you can try to appeal to the masses...

Lance Haun

I'm still not willing to give SHRM a pass.

Of course Boomers control the purse strings. In no organization is that more apparent than SHRM. Considering the rest of the conference is targeted at Boomers too (keynotes and sessions in particular), I've got to wonder when SHRM is going to start about appealing to a group of people who likely think Hall & Oates is a breakfast cereal.

I have no idea how I'd sell a person my age on the conference.


I’ll be happy to let you know that ZZ Top is out there somewhere for rent. I had the opportunity a couple of years ago to see them at a Kraft Foods event, it was rockin’. Honestly though I would have to agree that most of the corporate events I’ve had the pleasure (or displeasure) of attending have featured washed up performers who most Gen Xers (myself) and younger don’t know or don’t care about.


Nothing HR-related to say...but Cheap Trick is ALWAYS available!

Michael Dvorscak

If you want to know the bands that could be available check at the Casinos or worse the county fair! *Blissfully singing..."she's goooooonneeee......"


You think Hall and Oates are all that jazzed about performing at...an HR Conference?!? "Hey Daryl, we didn't get the Apple gig, but guess where we DO get to play?"

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