Music For Events… Keeping It Legal

Events use a lot of music, and your event is probably no exception.

Music before the event.  Music during your event.  Music in videos.  Music in breaks.  You can see where this is going.

I thought today we would look at music copyrights and how they pertains to your event.  Now first let me say, please don’t take what I’m saying as the gospel truth.  If you have any questions or concerns passed this post, please take a moment to consult a lawyer, or contact the song’s publishing company directly.  If you can’t afford that (entertainment lawyers aren’t cheap!), Google can be your friend.

If your event is hosted in a church, more than likely the church has a CCLI license that covers most song uses that your event has.  This includes performance on stage, printed lyrics, music in videos and more.

If your event is not in a church, check with the venue to see if they have a license with a Performance Rights Organization (PRO) like ASCAP or BMI.  If they do have a license with the PRO, any song usage like what’s listed above, would be covered with that license.

Another area to consider is use of a song for promotional purposes.  If you’re doing something in the 30 second range you’re covered, however, if you’re doing anything longer two licenses need to be secured: a publishing license and a master use license.

The publishing license is from the song publisher.  Typically this information can be found in the credits of the song and could be multiple publishing companies.  The master use license is use granted from the master recording owner.  Typically that is the record company.  If you have a recording you would like to use, I would contact the record label directly.

The same goes for use of a song. Contact the publishing company directly with any questions.  They’re use to getting these types of calls, and can point you in the right direction.

Leave Them Wanting More

I originally moved to Nashville wanting to play drums.  I had the opportunity to play in a few bands and make some great music that I’ve very proud to have created, and I’ve definitely reached a place were I’m content playing only at church now.

When we had a gig coming up, we always created set lists to work from, and creating these set lists was never easy.  But as we got to the end of each show, we wanted to go out with a bang every time, so we would always put one of our best and most fun songs at the end.  The goal was as our bass player would say, “Leave them wanting more.”

I know what your thinking, “how does this apply to events?”  Well, I’ll tell you.  You probably set around, plan and dream what the beginning of your event is going to look like.  But do you put as much emphasize on the ending as you do the beginning?  Do you leave the attendees wanting more?

Take the time to create an incredible ending just like that beginning you worked so hard on.  And I’m not just talking about ending in prayer.

If your event is spiritual in nature, maybe you close with an even better worship set then the beginning.

If your event is teaching, maybe you save the best speaker till the end.

If your event includes breakout sessions, maybe you save the best breakout till the end.

Your starting to get the picture, right?

I bet your team can get creative on how to end your event, and probably even better than some of the ideas I’ve mentioned above.

As your plan your event, be as intentional on creating a closing experience as you are an opening experience.

Remember: Leave them wanting more.

More Great Event Planning Resources

A while ago, I wrote a different post with some resources I thought were something event planners would enjoy.  Today, I thought we would revisit that.

How To Outsmart Mother Nature When Planning An Outdoor Special Event is the title of a short blog post with some great ideas at  Being a music guy, I can’t help but agree with the point about lighting and AV elements being in danger with any kind of rain.  We’ve talked about working with production companies before.  You definitely want to be in touch with them concerning rain and other elements.

It’s that time again: Christmas and holiday party time. has a great post on the Top 5 Holiday Party Planning Tips.  Since this is probably for your own company and employees, I hope you’ll take their recommendation on outsourcing everything so all of your team can attend. has a post on How To Leverage Your Social Media During an Event.  I’ve posted a lot on my feelings of social media and your event, but this post is geared towards using social media to responding to attendees criticism in real time.  If you’re not monitoring your social media in real time whether it’s for criticism or to just see what people are saying, you should be.  We mentioned before about implementing a hashtag.  That’s pretty important.

I’m enjoying curating, if you will, some resources that I believe will be beneficial to you and your team.  If this is something you’re enjoying, please leave a comment.  Maybe we’ll look at adding this as a monthly post here on Ministry Serving Ministry.

3 Recent Resources For Event Planners

Today’s post is a little bit different than my regular blogs.  Today I wanted to mention three recent articles that I’ve read that are tied to event planning.

The first is over at, and is titled “Allergists Publish Food Allergy Tips for Meeting Planners”.  Food allergies have increasingly become important, and in some cases it can mean the difference between life and death.  This article does a great job of giving advice to event planners on planning and working around food allergies.

The second post is called “80% of event organizers plan to increase social media” and can be found on (Conference & Incentive Travel).  If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know how much I value social media as a tool to help market your event.  This study done by The Amiandio Report is pretty interesting.  Many event planners showed that when they used social media to promote their events, they were pleased with their results.  I believe as you make your plans for social media you have to be intentional about what you’re going to do.  Set goals and be able to measure them.

The third post is a self-improvement article.  We’ve talked about being always focused on Constant And Never-ending Improvement, and this post from entitled “Eliminate These 8 Things From Your Daily Routine”  is right down that alley.  Most of the 8 things is common sense and filed under being polite.  But sometimes we forget the little things.

Have you read something recently that would be worth sharing with other event planners?  Mention the post and link to it in the comments below.

Event Incident Communication

I’ve been talking with several people recently about their communications policy.  A part of every communications policy should include crisis or incident handling.  You hope you’re event is going to run smoothly, but what happens if an incident occurs?  You have to be ready to react at a moments notice.

The purpose of an events communications policy is to spell out guidelines for all things communication.  These types of manuals can include everything from logos to social media usage to fonts.  Adding incident response works as a preparedness drill.

There are a few things to include in your incident response manual.  Let’s run through them:

  1. Communication to your attendees.  This one can be tricky.  Depending on the crisis, you don’t want to induce panic.  I would clearly state the incident, and clearly direct your attendees on how they should react.  This can be done from the stage, text apps or via social media.  Again, the instructions need to be clear and concise.
  2. Communication to media.  Obviously you hope to never have to interact with the media outside any PR notice announcing your event.  But in the event you have to work with them, know what your going to say.  Have statements ready to go and who they need to be attributed already decided.  It could be a statement of all is good from the event planner, but it might need to me more in depth and attributed to the CEO of an organization.
  3. Communication to workers and volunteers.  Your workers and volunteers can be a huge help in time of crsis.  Communicating directions to them is important.  Their attitudes can go along way to maintaining calm with your attendees.  Depending on the crisis, you might have one thing you tell your attendees but something else you tell your workers and volunteers.

This piece in the manual is definitely nothing you want to encounter.  “Plan for the best, prepare for the worse” is the motto of this post.

How have you prepared for an incident?  Do you have something in writing?

2 Ways To Run Facebook Contests

Facebook is a great place to create community for your event.  I hope you’ve created a fan page and asked attendees to like it.  I also assume you’ve been adding content to the page in the way of photos from your event, little sayings from speakers at your event and teasing the next event.

Have you tried running any kind of contest on your Facebook page?

This one some of you might be afraid to dip your toe in, and to be honest, I completely understand.  Some people see contests on Facebook as cheesy.

But running a contest can be a great way to create awareness about your event.  There are two ways to do that:

  1. Shares.  Ask the followers on Facebook to share your post, and in exchange you’ll pick a winner of some sort to get a prize pack.  When a post is shared, it shows up in the person who shared it’s News Feed.  That means a big majority of their friends will see it.  This is the most powerful contest you can run, in my opinion, as it will spread your event very wide.  The more shares you get, the more people will hear about your event.  And hopefully, more likes for your page.
  2. Likes.  Ask the followers on Facebook to like your status in exchange for a price pack.  This piece will get you some milage, but not as much as the Share.  Your followers likes show up in their News Feeds for others to see.

Now you’re probably saying, “That’s great.  Which one should I do?” I would encourage you to try both at different intervals.  Each one will work different than the other at different times.

Now it’s also important to ask for the Share or Like.  Something is ingrained in us that we’ll do what we’re told.  So don’t hesitate to ask your followers to “Share this status to win” or “Like this to win.”  Matter of fact, try that with posts were you are not giving anything away and see what happens.  I believe you’ll see greater response overall.

Picking Your Events Location

I grew up working at a Christian bookstore that was owned by my parents.  Every summer we took a family vacation to what was called Christian Booksellers Convention, now International Christian Retailing Show.

CBA, as we always called it, was always held in a family-friendly location like Dallas, Atlanta, Orlando, just to name a few.  The event planners for CBA knew that most of their attendees were owners of “mom and pop” bookstores, and would be bringing their families as a vacation.

As you start to plan your event, picking a location is a very important factor.  But how do you go about choosing a location?

Part of choosing a location has to do with the type of event you’re having.  Is it all lecture?  Do you need a big banquet hall?  Is it purely a convention type event?  Or does it need all of the above?

Types of restaurants around your location are important as well.  The event location you’ve chosen is great, and you’re really excited about it.  Only problem is fast food restaurants are the only thing close by.  To some that might be ok, but others might prefer healthier options.  Pick a location with a variety of places to eat.

Recreational things to do.  If your event is family-friendly, you’ll want a location with those types of things like amusement parks, hiking, zoos, museums, etc.  I remember my brother went on a tour of Cowboy’s Stadium one year in Dallas.

If you’re event is more for networking, then maybe you’ll want a location that suites that.  You’ll probably need lots of lobby type sitting area, or places were large groups can gather.

The bottom line is to know your audience.  What are their likes and dislikes?  What do they want to get our of your event?  Why are they coming to your event?  Answering those questions will go a long way towards helping you pick your events location.

4 Great Apps To Keep You On Project

I bet you’re a lot like me.  You have so much going on you can’t keep everything straight.  This week is so crazy that I went back to an old fashion to-do list.

How do you keep all your projects straight and moving forward?  I thought today we would discuss some tools that would help you with project management.

  1. Evernote.  I’m a big Evernote fan!  I use it daily to keep track of notes and tasks.  The easiest way to describe Evernote is to thing of it as a giant digital file cabinet.  You can set up different folders for your notes.  For example, you can keep all notes for one event in one folder with another folder holding to notes for another event.  Need some info on something you know you filed in Evernote?  The search function is very extensive.  Learn more at
  2. Basecamp.  I have been working inside Basecamp for about a month now, and have been enjoying the easy of use.  With multiple users, you can assign tasks to different users.  If they add something to the task, you will be notified about that.  One great thing about Basecamp is users can see all tasks within the projects, not just those assigned to you.  Basecamp is from 37 Signals, and they have some great other products that work well within Basecamp.  Learn more at
  3. Nozbe.  Nozbe is another great project management app.  My team has been using Nozbe for a while.  I like the interface and ease of use, but of all the project management apps discussed here, it’s my least favorite.  You might have a different take on it.  Learn more at
  4. Trello.  This one is a new one for me, but one that a colleague has recommended.  Trello utilizes a card method to help you stay organized.  Inside the card you can list various tasks that need to be completed.  I’m going to start using this project management tool for my team.  Learn more at

All of these project management tools have great mobiles apps as well which is a must in our mobile world.

What project management tool has worked for you and your team?

Speaker Communication

You’ve found and booked the speaker that is just right for your event.  Now what?

We’ve talked about ways to work the speaker in with your content marketing and social media, and we’ve talked about the different aspects of the rider.  But let’s talk about what to do with the speaker once they’re onsite at your event.

Before we continue, be sure that you have reviewed the speakers rider and been in communication with them or their representative.  You’ll want to communicate openly about everything.

The first thing to think about is manage expectations.  Many speakers are introverts.  If you want them to participate in say a game, that might be something that stretches them out of their comfort zone a little too much.  Maybe you want them to be a part of a Q&A discussion.  Make sure they’re openly prepared for that.

The second thing to think about is hospitality.  Put a nice fruit basket in their hotel room even if they don’t ask for it.  Assign someone the task of being a host while they’re onsite at your event.  That will help them get from one door to another, be on time to speak and so much more.

The third thing to think about is they are a guest at your event, treat them as such.  They may not want to sign autographs or talk to attendees.  That’s ok.  Be respectful of their needs.

Please don’t misunderstand this post as being an open invitation to speakers being divas and such.  They are being paid for a service.  Anything outside that service is unfair to assume the speaker will do.

Again this goes back to communication.  As an artist manager, we get all kinds of requests for our artists.  Most we’ll attempt to fulfill, as long as they are within reason.

But you want to upset the talent, and by extension the artist manager?  Surprise the speaker with something day of the event.  That’s not a smart idea.

Resource Table For Your Events

I was at an event recently that constantly pushed the resource table.  I understand this as you want to help sell some product for your speakers.  And your speakers like this as it helps with additional income.

You have to assume your attendees are smart enough to find their way to the resource table.  So how do you push the resource table without becoming annoying?

Mention it at the first break of the morning, but don’t bring it up again for a while.  During this break, the attendees will wonder by and take a look at these resources.  Some may purchase then, but some might wait until a later time to make a purchase.

Look for strategic ways to mention the resource table that work within your plan of the event.  For instance if lunch drives people away from the resource table, don’t mention it.  That might mean only breaks will work, and that’s ok.  Again, your attendees are smart enough to figure out were the resources are located.

Bundles are a great way to encourage purchasing.  The event I attended offered a bag with a mix of resources, along with bonuses, at a special rate.  All of the artists I manage are encouraged to bundle product on their resource tables.  People like to feel like they’re getting a deal, and bundles are a great way to accomplish that.

Price point is key with a bundle.  One of our artists sells the first CD for $15 and each additional for $5.  The consumer looks at that and thinks they’re getting the second CD for 75% off!  The cost to the artist is minimal because in affect, the consumer has purchased both CDs for $10.

I like to read my books digitally.  At this particular event, I perused the various books at the resource table, and then went back to download samples to my device.  I would have liked to have been offered books, book samples or digital bonuses in exchange for my email address.  This one is a little tricky, but doable.

How have you worked the resource table and found success?