Tag Archives: Mark Sonder

Bernie Sanders by guest blogger Bob Lefsetz

Bob LefsetzCould this be the future of the music business?


Oldsters lament the disappearance of this. Wherein labels subsidized the creativity of musicians. The term has been bastardized in the twenty first century, “artist development” means jetting an act from nowhere to stardom over a short period of time, usually in one album cycle. But the artist development of yore was based on seeing something nascent in the act that could shine in the future. It wasn’t about having a hit on the first record, employing songwriters for hire to ensure this, but laying down the essence of the act’s vision on wax and then going on the road and trying to develop a fanbase, one which would spread the word. Sure, radio was an integral element, but prior to the corporatization, classification and codification of FM in the midseventies, with the resulting tight playlists, the goal was to infect the audience and have it spread the word. Fans would beget more fans, and when the johnny-come-latelies came on board there was a treasure trove of material for them to digest, illustrating how the act had gotten from there to here. There just weren’t hits, but different sounds, different producers, experiments, one felt one was invested in a living, breathing entity, it was rewarding.


Which is another way to say “credibility.” Used to be fans believed in the acts, which is why “Rolling Stone” burgeoned, not only did we want to get closer, we wanted to know what our heroes had to say. Now we’re back to a “16” magazine formula. Which is information with no depth. But the truth is we all need someone to believe in. Unfortunately, that role has been usurped today by corporations, people fight about Android versus iOS more passionately than they do about any acts. If you don’t stand for anything, you’ve got no Velcro to hook people’s loops with. You start outside and then drag the center to you. Which is what Bernie Sanders is doing. He’s focusing on the issue of income inequality, something none of the other candidates wants anything to do with. Oh, they pay lip service to it, but the truth is they depend on the fat cats for cash, they’re not about to undermine their game. But Bernie Sanders has raised nearly as much as Hillary Clinton in the last cycle, $26 to her
$28 million. And he’s done it through small donations from individuals. Corporations are no match for the wrath of individuals, never forget that. Individuals ruined the record business. Individuals can turn on a company or a creator in an instant if you don’t treat people right, the news is filled with rip-off enterprises. Whereas if you spread your base wide, you can’t be hurt by a few defections, your house is built upon a solid foundation.


Don’t be afraid to tackle the tough issues and don’t be afraid to state unpopular positions. Ed Sheeran, one of the biggest acts in the world, has gone on record again and again about the virtues of Spotify. He’s winning while those bitching about streaming are losing. The public doesn’t care that someone moved your cheese, that you can’t make the money you used to in the old paradigm. The public is living in the new world. Which is why all the vinyl comeback stories are irrelevant, as well as the “Billboard” chart. That chart is incomprehensible. Weighted for sales and track equivalent albums and streaming… They print these statistics in the antiquated press and the consumers completely ignore them. Give me something I can understand, obfuscation is for wimps. You know, those afraid to stand up for what they believe is right because someone might get pissed. And the left is as guilty as the right, with all its trigger notices and other politically correct b.s. If you’re trying to please everybody, you’re ultimately pleasing nobody.


Reddit is the epicenter of the Bernie Sanders fundraising campaign. I bet you few in Washington know what it is, and if they do they don’t go there. And Reddit is all about community. That’s one of the reasons Apple Music failed, because Jimmy Iovine’s been living in the bubble so long he doesn’t know how the internet works. There aren’t fan playlists on Apple Music, there’s no sharing. People want to own the campaign and they want to own music. (Not “own” as in CDs or MP3s, if you can’t read and comprehend you’re lost in the new economy. Sign up for an English course, it’ll do you good.) Once you exclude people, you’re dead. You’ve got to welcome them inside, you’ve got to play on their level. Information spreads slow and fast. Usually the fast stuff is evanescent, here today gone tomorrow train-wreck stuff. Everything worth owning, worth paying attention to, takes a long time to gain traction. Don’t cry if the media is not paying attention, this is the same media focusing on Trump and Biden, both of whom have no chance of winning, they do it so they can sell papers/advertising, they’re on to another story tomorrow. Bernie Sanders gets little press because his story is not sexy, he too can’t win but he’s not a buffoon and he doesn’t come from an exalted place and the only people who care are his supporters. But he’s got supporters! Turns out for all his press Scott Walker did not! Proving, once again, not to believe the press, statistics are everything. Data rules. And the data illustrates that Bernie Sanders has a dedicated fanbase which is working for free and ponying up dollars. Never dismiss an army of millions.


Bernie is 74, and his campaign is being driven forward by those a third his age. In music we want malleable, the younger the better, easier to impress the target demo of teenagers, with money and desire. Age is just a number if you’re still cooking, still open to change, if you still care. How is it that Bernie Sanders is relevant at his age while most of his contemporaries are retired? Yet, people still pay beaucoup bucks to see the musicians of his vintage, like the Stones and the slightly less old Eagles. They built upon the above formula. Instead of criticizing the internet, Don Henley should be embracing it, mobilizing fans instead of alienating them. His new music works, it’s just his marketing message that’s all screwed up. The internet may have ruined the record business but it’s also its savior. Maybe Don should go on Reddit. Maybe he should depend upon his diehard fans to market him as opposed to the traditional media. And I focus on Don because he’s still vital, he’s still testing limits, as opposed to those who are afraid to put out new music or employ the hitmaker and cowriter du jour. You dig your own grave. Or climb out of it and keep marching forward.

Income inequality is the story of our age. People are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Yet no one with any power is doing anything to address this issue. Supposedly taxes are anathema, the government can’t shoot straight and socialism is death. But Bernie Sanders is a socialist and his message is resonating with so many? Instead of running from what the bullies say can’t be done, maybe you should run towards it! Deliver what the people want as opposed to what the institutions say you should deliver.

Hillary Clinton will probably win. And that’s fine with me, she’s a professional, unlike the leading Republican bozos. To elect Trump or Fiorina or Carson would be like asking Mark Zuckerberg to produce the new Metallica record. Yup, since he’s rich he must know best. Used to be professionalism meant something in music, you honed your craft and paid your dues and you got a shot at the big time. That didn’t mean you won, it just meant you got a chance. But today’s wannabes believe the crap fed to them by the leeches selling services and the oldsters who can no longer make a buck and we don’t stop hearing how music is broken and you can’t get rich.

Come on, music ain’t broken at all, it’s there for the taking.

Bernie Sanders ain’t good looking, and he’s a member of the tribe to boot! Gays can get married, we’ve got a black President, and just because nincompoops keep asking for Obama’s birth certificate that does not take away from the fact that he was elected twice and still rules.

That’s the power of the people.

And that’s what we’re talking about here. The people will support you. Gatekeepers’ influence is greatly diminished. You’ve got to get your hands dirty and wade into the vast wilderness known as the internet to find out if your message resonates, and if it does you’ve got to build a tribe one by one, like guerilla warfare. Isn’t that why the Viet Cong won, they had the hearts and minds?

Those rules still apply. It’s war out there. Just ask Mike Ovitz. Who ruled until the game changed.

And the game has changed across America today. We’re looking for heroes in a link-bait world where duplicity rules and everybody’s out for a buck.

But there’s plenty of money out there if you resonate, like I said, Bernie Sanders just raised $26 million.

But you’ve got to know how to ask for it.

The revolution will not be televised. It will be streamed on the internet. Everybody clamoring for a return to the past is toast. CDs are history as is manufacturing in America. But that does not mean people don’t want music and jobs! You’ve just got to thread the needle in a new way.

The audience is ready, willing and able.

Give ’em everything you’ve got.

And if you’re not in it for the long haul, if you’re not willing to drip some blood on both the saddle and the tracks, we’re not interested. We’re looking for a few good lifers, who believe in themselves and are willing to play to their fans as opposed to the institutions.

Are you ready?

I am.

Bernie’s $26 million – “Bernie Sanders’s Campaign, Hitting Fund-Raising Milestone, Broadens Focus”: http://nyti.ms/1M6C9n4

“Young Grape Picker Gives Sanders a Cash Boost – Tech-savvy 23-year-old’s Reddit group helps Democratic presidential candidate raise $26 million”: http://on.wsj.com/1LY8fFW

I want you to listen to these two tracks from Henley’s latest LP. They’re not singles and they’re at the very end of the album so they’ve been effectively buried, but I point them out to anyone who believes old people can’t make good music that resonates, especially with their core audience. In a world where everybody old seems to want to be young, Henley sings “I like where I am now.” Older is happier, statistics state this, data rules…if you’re paying attention. Furthermore, “Train In The Distance” reminisces about the past without getting smarmily nostalgic. It’s got that album cut feel baby boomers treasure. And through the magic of the internet, you can sample these wares without paying for them. Isn’t this better than keeping the music locked up like in the past? If you like it, you can spread the word. You can pay and get a higher quality stream and pick and choose the songs you want to play on your mobile. This is the new world, everything is different now:

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Hungry for Entertainment? The Feast of San Gennaro and Mark Sonder Productions will Quench that Hunger

Hungry for Entertainment? The Feast of San Gennaro and Mark Sonder Productions will Quench that Hunger

Mark Sonder Master of Ceremonies Feast of San GennaroFor many years in a row, Mark Sonder, MM, CSEP and the Chief Entertainment Officer at the award winning 30 year old international Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency will be in New York City both managing and acting as the Master of Ceremonies at the Main Stage at The Feast of San Gennaro.

Although this is an annual celebration of faith, the Feast of San Gennaro is known the world over for its festive atmosphere, an 11-day event featuring religious processions and colorful parades, free musical entertainment every day, a wide variety of ethnic food delicacies, charming restaurants and cafes.

In an age where it is difficult to retain clients, “The Feast” has been a client for Mark Sonder Productions for many years. Sonder’s entertainment agency has become the gatekeeper for many event planners, facilities, concerts, casinos all around the US and abroad.

“The executive producer of the Feast continues to honor me by asking me back year after year,” said Sonder in an interview in downtown New York City.  “I am just delighted,” finishes Sonder.  Sonder knows what it takes as he has literally written the book for the industry, entitled, “Event Entertainment and Production,” used by over 100 institutions of higher education.

 To book your event entertainment and/or production ask Mark what he can do for you.

 Photo: Mark Sonder as Master of Ceremonies on the Fiat Performance Stage at The Feast of San Gennaro 2014.

Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency Logo 540-636-1640About 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.

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Logo of Mark Sonder Productions, Inc.

Award Winning Music & Talent Agency Mark Sonder Productions Celebrates 28 Successful Years in Business

Award Winning Music & Talent Agency Mark Sonder Productions Celebrates 28 Successful Years in Business

Event Entertainment and Production Company Mark Sonder Productions Celebrates Anniversary

sonder-logoMark Sonder, who is a Master of Music, a Certified Special Event Professional and the Chief Entertainment Officer at the award winning worldwide event entertainment agency Mark Sonder Productions, Inc. is proud to announce that his company is celebrating 28 years in business.

Throughout his long career, Sonder, who authored the industry-wide accepted text, “Event Entertainment and Production,” has contributed to a dozen other books and has presented seminars in countries all over the world.  Sonder is quoted in multiple trade publications, and has authored many articles in own his industry’s various trades publications. 

Sonder, who has been a founding member of three professional trade associations, explains that, “As our company continues to grow in a contracting economy, we have just added The Temptations Revue: A Tribute feat. Hall of Famer Nate Evans to our roster, as well as another employee and summer intern.” “Our longevity stems from giving our clients what they are looking for – whether it be Jose Cid, the international pop/rock superstar from Portugal, or Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, or Blondie here in the U.S.,” Sonder states.

MarkSonderBW“We go above and beyond for every client, regardless of the need, time or location.” From working on major motion pictures on the big screen to various appearances on the small screen, and from holding the record for most amount of headline entertain

ers booked for a corporate event to sending out solo pianists for cocktail hours, Sonder has created careers in his 28-year experience.  “Without our repeat clients, who continue to support our fine artists delivered with great customer service, we would not be here and we thank them so very much,” explains Sonder. 

After working with everyone from Frank Sinatra to Cher, from Gypsy and Sugar Babies on Broadway to the National Ballet of Marseille and Radio City Music Hall Christmas Show, to being on tour with the late Nelson Riddle and Linda Ronstadt, Mark Sonder has done business with some of the greatest artists and performers.  Top 10 recording artist Eddie Money says, “Mark Sonder Productions is the industry expert.  They are great to work with because they know all the ins and outs of the business.” Mark Sonder is also a Lecturer of Tourism Studies for the Masters of Tourism Administration degree program at The George Washington University in Washington DC.  Because of his extensive experience and constant mentoring, Successful Meetings and Meeting News magazines have dubbed Sonder a Meeting Industry Guru.

About Mark Sonder Productions
Mark Sonder Productions, Inc. is an award winning entertainment agency for special events, meetings, conventions, trade shows, expositions, concert and casino facilities worldwide whose work has been featured in The Boston Globe; The San Francisco Chronicle; The Miami-Herald; United Press International; as well as on FOX and CBS Money Watch.

The talent agency enjoys both exclusive and non-exclusive relationships with headliners, musicians, comedians, theatrical productions and lecturers.  Talent Buying: The company’s 28 years of contracting has given the firm the knowledge and experience to represent clients and end users in a very strong position.

Mark Sonder Productions is a privately held company and has been proudly delivering excellent customer service to the U.S.A. and abroad since 1985.


Images: Logo of Mark Sonder Productions, photograph of Mark Sonder (below)






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Entertainment Agency Specialist, Mark Sonder, CEO Mark Sonder Productions, Named as Columnist at Meetings Focus Magazine

Entertainment Agency Specialist, Mark Sonder, CEO Mark Sonder Productions, Named as Columnist at Meetings Focus Magazine

“We are excited that Mark has decided to share with us his knowledge and experience on music, entertainment and production for meetings and events.” –Tyler Davidson, Meetings Focus Magazine



MarkSonderWebWashington DC February 26, 2013: Entertainment agency specialist, Mark Sonder, Chief Entertainment Officer at Mark Sonder Productions has been asked to be a contributing columnist for Meetings Focus Magazine, the leading monthly meeting planning and destination trade magazine.  It will be a “Tips of the Trade” column, from the event entertainment industry expert, Mark Sonder. The initial column will appear in their March issue.

This news has been widely reported today in:
-CBS Money Watch http://cbsn.ws/ZGCjip

-Boston Globe http://bo.st/Yy6Wjr
-SF Chronicle http://bit.ly/YVUlZj
-Miami Herald http://bit.ly/Zy5oc2
-United Press International http://bit.ly/13QMwWi
-LA Daily News http://bit.ly/Yy796i

Tyler Davidson, the Chief Content Director, of Meetings Focus Magazine said of Mark Sonder, “We are both delighted and honored to have Mr. Sonder contribute his words and concepts to our magazine and our readership. We are excited that he has decided to share with us his knowledge and experience on music, entertainment and production for meetings and events.”

Sonder is the author of the first and only full-length book on music, entertainment, speakers, headline entertainment and production for the meetings, events, hospitality and tourism industries entitled, “Event Entertainment and Production.” Wiley & Sons is the publisher.

Mark Sonder is also mentioned and/or contributed to 12 other books. His articles have been published in over 30 magazines and he has been interviewed for over 20 articles in various trade publications. Besides his writings, Mark Sonder is a Certified Special Events Professional as well as a Lecturer in Tourism Studies for the Master of Tourism Administration Degree Program at The George Washington University in Washington DC.  In addition, Sonder just completed six years instructing at the Harrah’s Hotel School at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

MeetingsFocusFurthermore, Sonder is the Chief Entertainment Officer at Mark Sonder Productions, Inc., a 28 year old award winning entertainment talent agency and music agency, that delivers complete program packages to corporations, associations, facilities, casinos, concerts and special events worldwide.

Telephone: +1-540-636-1640





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Forward-Thinking / Cutting Edge

Forward-Thinking / Cutting Edge

Entertainment for 2013

nathanheadphonesMusicians and entertainers have always been at the cutting edge of the global and political spectrum.  Hence the phrase, “Life imitates Art,” or is it, “Art imitates Life?  Now, the fans way in as well.

For example, when it comes to renewable energy sources, The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, one of the leading music festivals in the USA, is continuing its commitment towards sustainability with the installation of an array of permanent solar panels at the festival site in Tennessee.  The new solar photovoltaic system will generate approximately 61,000 kilowatt hours per year and support about 20% of the festival’s annual electricity needs.

Who paid for this?  The solar project was fully funded by “opt-in” donations that are available to Bonnaroo fans during the ticket purchase process!  In previous years, the proceeds from this opt-in donation has been used to fund the compost pad, the garden, and last year’s mobile tower of power.

SexationPink“Running part of Bonnaroo on solar power has long been a goal, as it underscores the commitment of Bonnaroo organizers and our community to the environment,” said festival partner Rich Goodstone.  “None of this could have been possible without the immense support of the generous and forward-thinking Bonnaroo community. Their contributions have brought this project to fruition.”

Mark Sonder Productions applauds this action and forward-thinking people.  Hence our commitment to bring you forward-thinking people and entertainers as well, for example, Mark Sonder, CEO of the company is an investor at Solar Components; keynote speaker, solar panel and new life battery executive Nathan Schulhof (the inventor of the MP3 Player); in addition to a hot young sensation who brings to the US the cutting edge music of the European Dance Clubs, DJ Sexation.


Call on Mark Sonder Productions to deliver forward-thinking entertainment to your meetings and special events around the world.  Call today +1-540-636-1640.

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