One surefire way of attracting attendees to your trade show booth is to feature live music within your space. It is an exciting idea to make your brand come alive with music. Even though the sound level will need to be at a comfortable volume, people will hear it from a few aisles away and wander over. And of course they will then notice your great products and see your nice booth design and want to talk to you.
I recently worked within a number of trade show booths where we featured live music and we had a very good response. Just a few months ago we had a 6-piece country band that played an acoustic set, with only microphones for vocals. They brought some excitement and spontaneity to the day and they really picked everyone up. And the style of music was perfect for our audience, as we were at a consumer event in a smaller venue.
Over the past few years I had the opportunity to be involved with many live performances and I have put together a few ideas on making your show a success.
- Think Local – find entertainment locally to save on travel expenses, and the band may already have fans following them, which will only add to the excitement of the event
- Up and Coming Talent – I like the energy that young, up and coming groups bring, and again there’s a savings on your budget
- Acoustic with Vocal Mics – you’ll have to keep the sound level reasonable
- Sound Engineer – if the entertainment does not supply someone, consider hiring a local audio technician, you never know what challenges you’ll come across and it’s better to be prepared and have someone who knows the equipment
- Music Style – I prefer jazz or acoustic country, just because it will fit into the trade show environment better, but other types of music can work too. For example, I’ve worked with percussionists that were very good
- Know your Audience – are the attendees structural engineers or young, tech-savvy dudes, the music should be aimed at your key audience members
- Brand Knowledge – Make sure the band knows what you’re selling and who your audience is, they can certainly mention your company during the set
- Timing – Afternoon is a better time, rather than the mornings
- Meet and Greet – allow time for the band members to meet with the attendees, possibly to sign autographs and have pictures taken
One very important consideration is the copyright laws concerning public performances. You may need to pay a music licensing fee if the music is not original to the performer. The copyright laws are a little vague and can vary, and it is difficult to determine who is in violation, the exhibitor, the exhibit hall, or the performer.
It’s a complicated subject, and is better explained in a recent article entitled “Music Licensing at Trade Shows and Conventions: Who Pays The Band” by Jeffrey W. King. “The issues that sponsors of trade shows and exhibitions face are whether a performance constitutes a public performance, whether the performance falls within one of the copyright exceptions and, if not, whether the exhibitors have obtained licenses and rights to perform the music.” The current laws are not the same in each state and are currently unsettled. With differing court opinions and untested rulings, the best advice is to take precautions to avoid liability. It’s probably best to check with your legal counsel to ensure you’re playing by all the rules.
But legal issues aside, live music in your trade show booth can be an exciting way to entice attendees into your space. People will take notice and you might be the talk of the show.