Elton joined the trend-makers on August 27, 2002, in a 90-minute solo performance for 1,000 Mercedes-Benz dealers in Vancouver, reported the Vancouver press on August 29, 2002.
Elton was paid $1 million for his private corporate gig at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, one day before his sold-out concert in Kelowna, Canada.
Like many other performers, the rock star has found that playing for top-listed companies in the Fortune 500 league table is a lucrative way to pay the bills and reach out to new audiences.
“It definitely is a growing trend and it has to do with changing demographics,” says Shaw Saltzberg of S.L. Feldman & Associates, a Vancouver talent agency.
Saltzberg said senior managers calling the shots at big-buck companies are looking at ways to reward employees and market a product by tying in to a big-name star.
“Many of those in the executive levels of the companies grew up with rock and roll and this is a way for them to celebrate.”
Some of the clients on Feldman & Associates’ corporate-client A-list include the rocker Colin James who belted it out for street clothes retailer Gap, and Bob Dylan hit the stage for a Silicon Valley semi-conductor company.
During a stop on their last tour, the Rolling Stones entertained a select group at Pepsi in Hawaii.Those with deep pockets can also have a big star play at such private functions as a birthday.
Carlos Santana played for Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and Welshman Tom Jones charges anywhere from $140,000 to $400,000 for a private show.
As performers get older and are no longer marquee names, corporate gigs can provide a lucrative market, said Saltzberg.”For artists that are over 30 it’s hard to get on radio and video,” he said.
But that doesn’t mean the artist is selling out. “The corporations have learned how to stage these events in a professional manner,” Saltzberg said.