Private events, like this corporate affair in Miami featuring John Legend, slowed but continued through the pandemic, says TBN Entertainment Principal Todd Rodeghiero. (Courtesy TBN Entertainment)
Private events, casino bookings fuel TBN Entertainment
TBN Entertainment, established in 1996 as Talent Buyer’s Network, was originally opened as a subsidiary of Good Music Agency, which itself dates to 1972, when it was founded by Brian Knaff and Doug Brown. In 2017 Todd Rodeghiero and partner Frank Catrambone, Jr. acquired TBN and Good Music Agency. The company leverages 100 years worth of combined national entertainment industry experience and relationships in providing talent buying, entertainment strategy and consulting services for both public and private events. On the public event side, TBN typically works with casinos, hotels and resorts, universities, arenas and theaters, tourism bureaus and festivals, while in the private and corporate event space the company works with tech and finance companies, retail companies, industry conventions and trade shows, universities, private citizens and government and political groups, among others. VenuesNow’s James Zoltak spoke and exchanged emails with Rodeghiero about the company’s past, present and future.
I’m intrigued by your work in private events and the kinds of artists companies they are able to get to play. Can you give me some examples?
TBN works with a wide ranging mix of clients on many private events each year. Over the years there has been some pretty spectacular stuff: The Rolling Stones played a birthday party in San Diego at a 500 cap club; David Bowie playing a Kentucky Derby event at a ballroom in Louisville for General Electric; Prince playing a private party for IBM at the iconic First Avenue in Minneapolis. John Legend playing the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami for a large finance company event. Flo-Rida playing a party for a global software giant. And the list goes on.
Did the private events market continue strongly through the pandemic?
The private market did continue through the pandemic. I would not say ‘strongly,’ but it did exist when public shows stopped.
Has this market segment grown over recent years?
I’m not sure on that since I’ve never seen any public statistics or research to support the segment trending up or down. Personally, I can say it’s an area that keeps us very busy at TBN since we have so much experience and success in the space.
How lucrative is it for the artists?
It’s lucrative, as it should be. Most everything about these types of events (is) unique and special for the clients and their guests, employees, etc., and the artists embrace that. They know the details of the client and the event, so as seasoned pros they really go in and connect with the audience on a personal level.
Do you work with various production companies or do you have go-to outfits that you use or do you do stuff in house?
A lot depends on where the event is being held. If it’s at a music venue, a hotel or resort, a casino, a ballroom, exhibition hall, any space of that type we will typically partner with an in-house production team or whomever they may contract with on a regular basis. If it’s being staged in a non-traditional space, then we do the research to find the best outfit to match the event and the artist. In the end though we always manage the process in house to ensure everything comes off smoothly for both the artist and the client.
How secretive is all this? Do companies want to keep this kind of on the down-low when they put on a high-profile act?
I would say so, yes, many times that is the case. There is really no need to promote anything publicly, so it generally stays very well guarded on a “need to know basis.” In some cases not even the guests know who is playing. it’s kept a secret until they welcome the act to the stage which builds a lot of fun momentum leading up to the event. Recently we produced an event where the venue staff didn’t even know who was showing up that night. Orchestrating something like that — with the level of detail and communication needed between the client, the artist, production crew, and venue — all plays a major part of what we do and why our clients choose us for their events.
What kind of events are they generally, company conventions and the like?
Industry conventions, trade shows, company retreats, sales reward trips, sales seminars and motivational sessions, college spring and fall fests, fundraisers, private parties of all types – birthdays, company holiday parties, bar mitzvahs, even yacht parties.
What about sensitivity over the client, whether it’s a sheik or a Koch Industries or whatever might bring a possibly negative light?
Well, if you’re asking if an artist has ever refused to play for a certain client due to a conflict of interest or moral decision, I do know it happens on occasion, but personally I’ve never experienced that.
How much are clients paying for events like the ones you’ve described?
Like anything else it spans a wide range depending on the act, their availability, location and travel needs, production needs, and more. From many thousands of dollars all the way up to many millions.