Business men and women are ditching the suit and BlackBerry and opting instead for tight leather pants and a guitar to compete in Fortune magazine's 7th Annual Battle of the Corporate Bands.
Employees from corporations around the country are letting their hair down (in some cases literally) after work and playing in bands not only relieve stress but to get their shot at the big time.
In 2001, Fortune magazine partnered with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and NAMM (the National Association of Music Merchants) to create Battle of the Corporate Bands, a friendly competition among bands and the corporations that support them. The organizers say the competition showcases the positive effects that music has on employee morale and productivity in the business world.
Of the 41 hopefuls who entered the contest this year, 18 were chosen to compete for a spot in the finals to be held at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in October.
The 18 bands will compete in three locations, including Los Angeles, Nashville, and Austin, TX . Two bands will be selected from each city, and the six bands will then compete for the grand prize--a trip to the 2008 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California as well as gear from sponsors. All the proceeds from the competition benefit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's music education programs.
"The office can be a stressful place, but the moment you pick up an instrument, the day's worries and pressures melt away," says Joe Lamond, president and CEO of NAMM and also a drummer, "Playing music inspires the teamwork and creativity necessary for these companies to compete in the 21st century economy."
The competition has received national media attention in past years. It was featured on NBC's Today Show because a band named High Definition from NBC's Burbank studios had been a part of the contest. No Subordination, a corporate band from Derivative Fitch in New York City , has even started an online video diary hosted by YouTube to help document their journey to fame.
"It has been amazing to see the evolution of this program," says Steve Dobo, director of Sponsorship and Promotions for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. "This competition has proven how beneficial recreational music making is by breaking down corporate walls and bringing together employees of all levels for one common goal -- to have fun and make music."