Op-Ed: The VMAs – By Bob Lefsetz

Bob LefsetzOp-Ed: The VMAs – By Bob Lefsetz
I asked a powerful music PR man why the press never went negative on Taylor Swift.

He said it was about access. As long as she was available, doing interviews, feeding the press stories, coverage would be positive. It’s when you clam up that the media goes wild on you.

Which kind of explains why Kanye West is getting a pass.

Not completely. But here we have an egomaniac with little national traction, when it comes to music, being given a faux award and then rambling on for ten minutes nearly incoherently, sticking it to the man for giving him this award, any award at all. I’d say it’s hypocritical, but what fascinates me is the press is not full of stories about him being a blowhard. Why?

Because everybody in America is trying to get rich and the young are impressionable and if we can just focus on the antics of the young ‘uns we can get ahead.
Meanwhile, ratings for the show go down and one wonders what can be done next, live executions? George Carlin suggested that a while back, that ratings would be killer, but in our short attention span theatre, where everything is plowed under and history is irrelevant, no one seems to know, or get the joke.

Kanye WestNot that you can have a sense of humor these days. Because someone might be offended.

And the way you make hay on the VMAs is to offend. But that concept is so long in the tooth that we laugh when the oldsters get their knickers in a twist, because we know it’s just about attention.

Attention…it’s hard to get in the internet era.

You could make a record, but even that has a hard time triumphing. Happens every once in a while, with “Blurred Lines,” “Royals” and “Uptown Funk,” but what the industry thinks is important most of America does not so the way to get ahead is to be featured on this show, which resembles nothing so much as Halloween. That’s right, you put on a costume and have a night out and then you forget about the whole enterprise until twelve months hence.

The reason the VMAs are irrelevant is because the station no longer airs videos. I’m not saying they should, I’m just saying that in the heyday of the channel what was hyped on the night was exposed thereafter ad infinitum on the channel, and we were all paying attention. It’s a paradigm Beats 1 is trying to resurrect, by banging Halsey. Will it work?

That’s not the issue. We know there are anomalies. But the truth is we all don’t pay attention to anything other than the Super Bowl, which is why an appearance there is so meaningful and powerful. Prince resurrected his career, he can bloviate ignorantly about the internet but we all still care, because we saw him knock them dead at the game, whose contestants and score elude our memory.

That’s the power of music.

But we haven’t had “Little Red Corvette” in such a long time. A track that was indelible and so infectious that it didn’t matter who made it, what the video was like, we needed more.

So, if we were living in the old days, Miley’s manager would have brokered a deal wherein her new tunes would be featured on the outlet, ensuring they were hits. We’d all know them and we’d all talk about them. I give Ms. Cyrus props for dropping her LP right after the show, that’s how you do it, strike when the iron is hot, when the eyes are upon you, in a flash, but no one cares.

That’s the issue in America today.

It’s not that people have a short attention span, it’s just that they’re overwhelmed with product to the point they don’t care about much at all, percentage-wise, and those left out haven’t stopped bitching. Hell, it’s happening in television, read today’s “New York Times.”

But what the “Times” has that those appearing on the VMAs do not is a new paper, they’re in the pubic eye every day. Whereas you get your shot on the VMAs and if you don’t catch fire, you’re done.

So what have we learned?

If live shows were so important, a gathering of the tribes, ratings would soar, but they don’t. We’ve seen the trick, the antics, the train-wrecks, and it’s no longer new.

But if you’re not featured on one of these shows it’s even harder to get traction.

And everybody who puts money first plays by the rules. Developing acts that fit the paradigm are hyped this way to the point only the ignorant care.

So what’s next?

What I’ve been telling you all along, a whittling of the culture, a reduction of the offerings. Even fewer tracks are going to be hits. And you may not like what is selected, but popularity is everything in today’s culture.

And popularity can be manipulated, but victory truly occurs when the machine melds with quality such that we all care.

We can argue all day long whether “Blurred Lines” rips off Marvin Gaye, but we all agree it’s an infectious track.

As was Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” If only Kanye kut one that good.

But he’s so busy pursuing his power dream of ubiquity that he’s lost focus, he expects us to care, but most don’t.

But no one in the game will admit that.

What the internet has taught us is the consumer is king. It’s happened over and over again. The consumer gave us file-trading then streaming. Don’t blame Spotify, that’s long after the fact.

The consumer wants instant access. The consumer wants a low price.

And most consumers don’t want what the music industry is giving them. And rather than adjust, the players are just doubling-down. Becoming even more crass.

So, the VMAs are irrelevant unless you were on them. Most people didn’t watch them and didn’t care. If you say you hate the tracks, join the club. If you wonder what is going on, the media and powers-that-be believe youth drive the culture.

But we’ve learned the oldsters have the money.

And we all have smartphones.

And we all think we’re hip.

And the way you win is by appealing to everybody.

Don’t expect people to pay attention if you’re niche.

But if you’ve got a great voice, write melodic material with good changes, employ hooky choruses and a bridge, the world is your oyster.

Start there.

“Soul-Searching in TV Land Over the Challenges of a New Golden Age”: http://nyti.ms/1LGE7gi

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Jo Dee Messina and Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency, Alright Together

Jo Dee Messina and Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency, Alright Together

for Meetings, Conventions, Special Events, Club, Concerts, Collegiate and Festivals

Jo Dee Messina 202-369-1063Mark Sonder, MM, CSEP and Chief Entertainment Officer at Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency is proud to announce that his award winning 30 year old international company has booked Jo Dee Messina for one of its clients this week.

Jo Dee is a country music artist who crosses over to pop and works fine for special events.. She has charted nine number one singles on the Billboard country music charts. She has been honored by the Country Music Association, the Academy of Country Music and has been nominated for two Grammy Awards. She was the first female country artist to score three multiple-week Number One songs from the same album. To date, she has two Platinum and three Gold-certified albums by the RIAA.

Hit songs you can expect to experience at her up to 90 minute show:

  • Jo Dee Messina 540-636-1640“I’m Alright”
  • “You’re Not in Kansas Anymore”
  • “Heads Carolina, Tails California”
  • “Bye Bye”
  • “Bring on the Rain”
  • “Because You Love Me”
  • “He’d Never Seen Julie Cry”
  • “Do You Wanna Make Something of It”
  • “Downtime”
  • “Burn”

From established to upcoming, from country, rock and pop to world music Mark Sonder Productions books them all, all over the country and abroad for meetings, conventions, events, collegiate and facilities.

About Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency:

Created in 1985 to fill a growing need for music, entertainment, speakers, headline entertainers and supportive production in corporate and association meetings, conventions and special events plus facilities, clubs, casinos and concerts, the company in its 30 years, has worked in the US, Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, South America, Europe and Southeast Asia.

Contact: +1-540-636-1640 or msonder(at)marksonderproductions(dot)com to book this great contemporary artist for your event today and see what Mark can do for you!

 

At Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency We Are “Proud To Be An American,” so we hired Lee Greenwood

At Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency We Are “Proud To Be An American,” so we hired Lee Greenwood

Lee Greenwood 202-369-1063Mark Sonder Productions just acquired Lee Greenwood for one of our client’s events.

When you are deciding what entertainment to have at your themed meeting, convention, event, or collegiate function, think of Lee Greenwood.

From a theme of country, pride, nationalism, The US, God, leadership, stars & stripes, the flag, July 4th, Independence Day, Washington DC, to praise, workship and motivation, etc. Lee can answer all those calls with his special brand of music and entertainment.

Lee is a country music artist that has released more than twenty major-label albums and has charted more than 35 singles on the country music charts. He is best known for his single and signature song “God Bless the USA”, which was very popular back when it was originally released in 1984, and became popular again after the September 11, 2001 attacks (becoming his highest charting pop hit, reaching No. 16 on the Hot 100). He also has charted seven No. 1 hits in his career.

From established to upcoming, from country, rock and pop to world music Mark Sonder Productions books them all, all over the USA and abroad. God Bless The USA!  Call today to book him as well as your other favorite artists 202-369-1063.

About Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency:

Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency Logo 540-636-1640Created in 1985 to fill a growing need for music, entertainment, speakers, headline entertainers and supportive production in corporate and association meetings, conventions and special events plus facilities, clubs, casinos and concerts, the company in its 30 years, has worked in the US, Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, South America, Europe and Southeast Asia.

Contact: +1-540-636-1640 or msonder(at)marksonderproductions(dot)com.

Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency Hits a Double-Header This Week with The Outlaws and Blackhawk

Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency Hits a Double-Header This Week with

The Outlaws and Blackhawk

The Outlaws 540-636-1640Buying entertainment for meetings, conventions, trade shows, expositions, special events, festivals, casinos, clubs, collegiate, and concerts, the 30 year old award winning national entertainment agency has acquired both The Outlaws and Blackhawk for its clients this week.

The Outlaws are a Southern rock/country rock band best known for their 1975 hits “There Goes Another Love Song” and “Green Grass and High Tides.”

Blackhawk, with their musical ties to The Outlaws, are best known for their hits, “Goodbye Says It All” and “There You Have It.”

Blackhawk 540-636-1640So there you have it, from its classical and jazz roots to pop, rock, world and Southern rock/country Mark Sonder Productions books it all, all around the country!

Call today and ask, “What can Mark do for you?”

+1-540-636-1640

msonder@marksonderproductions.com 
www.marksonderproductions.com

 

Blinddog Smokin’, Bobby Rush and Gerardo Contino All In One Week!

Mark Sonder Productions booked Blinddog Smokin’, Bobby Rush and Gerardo Contino All In One Week

Entertainment Takes a Bow at Nationwide Event Entertainment Agency

Logo of Mark Sonder Productions, Inc.Mark Sonder, MM, CSEP and The Chief Entertainment Officer at the award-winning national entertainment agency Mark Sonder Productions had the trifecta of events last week booking headline entertainment.

This run of three grand special events has chosen Mark Sonder Productions to book their entertainment.  Sonder actually combined two great artists, Bobby Rush, whose style incorporates elements of blues, rap and funk and on June 6, 2015 Rush was inducted into the Official Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame in Clarksdale, MS with the 2015 Grammy Award nominee Blinddog Smokin’.  Also last week Sonder acquired Gerardo Contino y Los Habaneros to perform. Named, “El Abogado de la Salsa,” Gerardo is a Cuban singer and songwriter, featuring an elite lineup of some of New York’s most highly regarded Cuban and Latino musicians.

From established to upcoming to world music Mark Sonder Productions books them all, all over the USA and abroad.

For all bookings of music, entertainment and production call on Mark Sonder.

540-636-1640

www.marksonderproductions.com

msonder@marksonderproductions.com

The Platters for your next Special Event

The Platters will not be Pretending when they perform at your Event

presented by Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency

The Platters 202-369-1063Mark Sonder, MM, CSEP and the Chief Entertainment Officer at the award winning worldwide entertainment agency Mark Sonder Productions, Inc. is proud to acquire for your club, casino, festival, meeting, convention or special event the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer group The Platters.

Their debut hit single “Only You (and You Alone)” that launched The Platters as superstars on the world stage was actually an error. A popular DJ, Alan Freed, accidentally played their Mercury Records debut single on air during a “prime” time that was traditionally reserved for white artists. The ballad, based on the then groundbreaking Tin Pan Alley sound, became an instant hit with the public and would eventually reach number five on the Pop charts. Soon after, The Platters released “The Great Pretender,” which propelled them to the number one spot on the charts, providing the launch pad for their meteoric rise. As a result, they became the first African American group to achieve international superstardom. Both songs have since been declared important musical works of the 20th century by the Grammy Foundation. After decades out of the spotlight, The Platters have restarted the evolution of the group with their well-known crisp, vocal stylings. Don’t miss their timeless performance.

Mark Sonder Productions has booked The Platters, the tenth in a series of special musical presentations, at the 500 seat Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club this Friday evening (7/26) in support of the agency’s 30th anniversary celebration.  Other shows that are or have been featured in the company’s 30th celebration year are: Jo Dee Messina, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, Eddie Money, Lee Greenwood, The Outlaws, Rare Earth, Mary Wilson of The Supremes, Tito Puente Jr., The Hit Men, Larry Carlton, Blackhawk, The Drifters and many more.

Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency 202-369-1063About Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency:

Created in 1985 to fill a growing need for music, entertainment, speakers, headline entertainers and supportive production in corporate and association meetings, conventions and special events plus facilities, casinos and concerts, the company in its 30 years, has worked in the US, Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, South America, Europe and Southeast Asia.

Contact: +1-540-636-1640 or msonder(at)marksonderproductions(dot)com

Martha Reeves Creates Media Frenzy in Nation’s Capital!

Martha Reeves Creates Buzz in Washington DC

presented by Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency

Martha Reeves 202-369-1063Martha Reeves and The Vandellas are a wonderful musical addition to any meetings, conventions, fairs, festivals, casinos, clubs and events around the US. Call today to book this legendary artist 202-369-1063.

Share this blog if you love Martha!

Mark Sonder, MM, CSEP and the Chief Entertainment Officer at the award winning worldwide entertainment agency Mark Sonder Productions, Inc. is proud to announce that Martha Reeves and The Vandellas will be performing for one night only in the Washington DC metro area, this Friday, June 12 at The 500 seat Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club in support of the 30th Anniversary Celebration of his company.

In anticipation of the sold out crowd, Martha has created a huge buzz in our nation’s capital as she will be on:

Jason Fraley’s show on WTOP radio to air Thursday (6/11) as his cover story
— WTTG-TV. Good Day DC Interview is at 10:45am Thursday
— ABC morning show for Friday (6/12), at approximately 8:30am
— WJLA-TV, Good Morning Washington, Friday morning

These media shows are generally reserved for top headline entertainers, which is why when Martha visits the Washington DC metro area people take note.

“Here in DC we will be ‘Dancing in the Street’ and having a ‘Heat Wave’ with Martha coming into town,” said Mark Sonder.

This is the ninth in a series of special musical presentations set up by Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency at this supper club in support of the agency’s 30th anniversary celebration.  Other shows that are or have been featured in the company’s 30th celebration year are: Jo Dee Messina, Eddie Money, Lee Greenwood, The Outlaws, Rare Earth, Mary Wilson of The Supremes, Tito Puente Jr., The Hit Men, Larry Carlton, Blackhawk, The Drifters and many more.

Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency 202-369-1063About Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency:

Created in 1985 to fill a growing need for music, entertainment, speakers, headline entertainers and supportive production in corporate and association meetings, conventions and special events plus facilities, casinos and concerts, the company in its 30 years, has worked in the US, Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, South America, Europe and Southeast Asia.

Contact: +1-540-636-1640 or msonder(at)marksonderproductions(dot)com

Mary Wilson of The Supremes Reveals Set List

Mary Wilson of The Supremes Reveals Set List for Friday Night

presented by Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency

Mark Sonder, MM, CSEP and the Chief Entertainment Officer at the award winning worldwide entertainment agency Mark Sonder Productions, Inc. is proud to announce that Mary Wilson of The Supremes has just revealed her set list that she will be performing for one night only in the Washington DC metro area, this Saturday, June 5th at The 500 seat Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club in support of the 30th Anniversary Celebration of his company.

Mary Wilson of The Supremes 202-369-1063Set List for The Mary Wilson Show

1st Set

1. Here’s To Life

2. Smile

3. Body And Soul

4. Spring Is Here

5. I Remember You / Girl From Ipanema / Mas Que Nada

6. I’m Changing

7. My World is Empty

2nd Set

8. Love Child

9. You Keep Me Hangin’ On

10. You Can’t Hurry Love / Come See About Me / Back In My Arms

11. Don’t Know Why

12. Baby Love / Stop Medley

13. Bad Case Of Lovin’ You

14. Walk The Line

15. Someday We’ll Be Together

16. Satisfaction / Brown Sugar

17. Last Dance

In anticipation of the sold out crowd, Mary will be performing, “My World is Empty,” tomorrow morning, Thursday June 4th on TV’s “Let’s Talk Live.”  “Let’s Talk Live” airs live on Washington DC’s NewsChannel 8 from 11:00am until noon. NewsChannel 8 is a sister station of WJLA/ABC 7.

“We are both thrilled and honored to have Ms. Wilson perform for us this Friday evening,” said Mark Sonder.

This is the eighth in a series of special musical presentations set up by Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency at this supper club in support of the agency’s 30th anniversary celebration.  Other shows that are or have been featured in the company’s 30th celebration year are: JoDee Messina, Eddie Money, Lee Greenwood, The Outlaws, Rare Earth, The Hit Men, Larry Carlton, Blackhawk, The Drifters and many more.

Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency 202-369-1063About Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency:

Created in 1985 to fill a growing need for music, entertainment, speakers, headline entertainers and supportive production in corporate and association meetings, conventions and special events plus facilities, casinos and concerts, the company in its 30 years, has worked in the US, Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, South America, Europe and Southeast Asia.

Contact: +1-540-636-1640 or msonder(at)marksonderproductions(dot)com

The Hit Men former stars of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons

The Hit Men, booked by Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency

Bring their concert tour to Washington DC this Sunday, May 31st!

The Hit Men 202-369-1063Mark Sonder, Chief Entertainment Officer at Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency, is delighted to be working with Gerry Polci and Lee Shapiro. They may not be household names but back in the 70’s, you bought all of their records. You heard them on the radio. Saw them on TV. Went to their concerts. So who are they? They’re the former stars of the hit-making factory known as Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.

These guys toured the world with Frankie. Recorded numerous hit albums with him. And sang the lead vocals on songs like “Oh What a Night” – the biggest Seasons hit of all time. When they met in 1973, they were two boys from New Jersey barely out of their teens, and the Four Seasons hadn’t had a charted hit record in years. Along with Valli and songwriter/ producer Bob Gaudio, Gerry Polci and Lee Shapiro successfully transitioned the group’s sound from ‘60s doo-wop to ‘70s pop with mega-hit songs like “Who Loves You” and “Oh What a Night”.

Spurred by the runaway success of “Jersey Boys”, the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical based on the Four Seasons’ career, these former Seasons, who are now in their late 50s and early 60s, decided to re-unite — along with an A-list group of musicians who wrote, recorded and performed with Carly Simon, Cat Stevens, Elton John, Jim Croce, Chicago, Luther Vandross, The Ramones, Carole King, and other mega-star acts of the era — and give touring one more shot. They now call themselves The Hit Men, and their next tour stop will be at The Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club in Bethesda, MD (just outside of Washington DC), for one show only at 7:30pm this Sunday, May 31st.

Their show is an amazing look back through rock and roll history, including fascinating back stories of what it was like being on the road and in the recording studios with Frankie, Tommy, Carly, Cat, Jim and Elton. And, of course, there are all those amazing hits…with The Hit Men performing great songs from the Four Seasons songbook (from “Rag Doll”, “Dawn”, and “Walk Like a Man”, to “Can’t Take My Eyes Of You”, “Marianne” and “Sherry”), plus other mega hits that members of The Hit Men helped make famous back in the day such as Cat Stevens’ “Peace Train”, Jim Croce’s “Leroy Brown”, Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” and Tommy James’ “Mony Mony”.

Says music director and former Four Seasons member Lee Shapiro, “This show is a chance for everyone to relive the glory days of rock and roll with a great group of guys who actually lived and breathed the experience. You’ll walk out of the theatre exhilarated, excited and wanting more. We guarantee it.”

Tickets for The Hit Men in concert are on sale now at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club box office. Call 240-330-4500 or go to http://www.instantseats.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.event&eventid=084DAA23-026D-B1F3-7DE826B26D8C4DE6 before they sell out.

The Hit Men, from left, and a very partial list of credits include: Jimmy Ryan (Carly Simon, Elton John, Jim Croce, Paul McCartney); Russ Velazquez (The Ramones, LL Cool J, Chicago); Lee Shapiro (Four Seasons, Barry Manilow, The Shondells); Larry Gates (Bon Jovi, Carole King, Phoebe Snow ); Gerry Polci (Barry Manilow, Four Seasons and lead vocalist on “Oh What a Night”)

Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency 202-369-1063About Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency:

Created in 1985 to fill a growing need for music, entertainment, speakers, headline entertainers and supportive production in corporate and association meetings, conventions and special events plus facilities, casinos and concerts, the company in its 30 years, has worked in the US, Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, South America, Europe and Southeast Asia.

Contact: +1-540-636-1640 or msonder(at)marksonderproductions(dot)com

Special Events Institute Appoints Mark Sonder

 

The Special Events Institute Welcomes To Its Faculty

Mark Sonder, MM, CSEP

SEIlogoThe Special Events Institute (SEI) is pleased to welcome industry leader Mark Sonder, MM, CSEP of Mark Sonder Productions, an award-winning worldwide entertainment agency, to its faculty beginning with this term. Mark will be instructor and course contributor of the Event Marketing course, which is one of the essential program elements of the five-course Certificate Program.

“We are pleased to have Mark join us,” said Jill Moran, CSEP, founder and executive director of SEI. “Mark has made a huge impact on the industry creating a successful entertainment company, a premier NYC-based Destination Management Company and sharing his wealth of information through his book, Event Entertainment and Production. He has already provided a new and innovative perspective to our program by sharing his expertise in events and business management and we look forward to his tenure with us at SEI and the impact he will make on our students,” continued Moran.

Mark Sonder 202-369-1063Sonder serves as a mentor to professionals enrolled in the program and helps guide them through the eight-topic course, which covers the impact of marketing on the event management process. Sonder was named “Meeting Industry Guru” by Successful Meetings and Meeting News Magazine and has lectured worldwide. He has also contributed to the programs at Harrah’s Hotel School at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and Master of Tourism Administration at The George Washington University.

“I applaud a higher education organization like The Special Events Institute for their role in instructing the meeting and event planners of tomorrow and they honor me by their appointment to their faculty,” said Sonder upon learning of the invitation to instruct at SEI.

Contact Information for the Special Events Institute
Jill S. Moran, CSEP
Executive Director

Special Events Institute
671 Main Street
Medfield, MA 02052
Ph: 508-359-7778 Fx: 508-359-7808
Email: jill@specialeventsinstitute.com
www.SpecialEventsInstitute.com