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Meet Keith Levine of Press Play Entertainment in Needham

Today we’d like to introduce you to Keith Levine.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Since I was a little kid, I always had an affinity for music and dancing. I attended a ton of Jewish youth group events where my group of friends would perform choreographed lip-sync routines and dance contests. Needless to say, I loved to party and entertain audiences.

I started my DJ career as a freshman at UMASS Amherst on a small student-run radio station, WOCH Radio. It was a great experience and I was able to learn a lot and appreciate all genres of music. During my sophomore year, I was attending a friend’s Bat Mitzvah and met my mentor, Jeff Glassman of Glassman Entertainment. I asked Jeff if he needed a new DJ and he said yes. My 1st gig was a Silver Lake High School prom and the rest is history. I worked for Glassman Entertainment for over 15 years and was lucky enough to buy the company in 2008.

In 2012, I changed the name to Press Play Entertainment and re-branded the entire company (website, brochures, YouTube videos, business cards, etc.). Since then, I have been able to hire a great new team of superstar DJs and Emcees. I have also been able to partner with some great vendors, who have all helped me grown the business to provide multiple package offerings.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
With any business, there are bumps in the road, but that is how you learn to be better. I had to learn the ins-and-outs of owning my own business; from managing finances and personnel to setting up insurance and building a new website.

When I took over from Jeff, convincing current and potential clients that they would still receive the same level of performance and service often proved difficult. Jeff built a great company with a great reputation. While we were confident that we would succeed, we did lose some bookings in the process.

After changing our name and branding, we also had to do a small re-start in making sure that clients knew we were the same company with the same level of service. To do so, we attended a lot of Wedding and Mitzvah expos and spent a lot of money on advertising. While this was a very positive experience, we did run in to some issues with being able to update and fix some of our equipment.

However, in the long run, it was all worth going through as it made us a stronger business and team.

Press Play Entertainment – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Press Play Entertainment, has been providing the soundtrack for a variety of events for over 20 years. Our trusted staff specializes in Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, weddings, and corporate functions, as well as other special events. With our extensive music libraries, we are able to customize each event to satisfy guests of all ages across New England.

Our packages include an Emcee, DJ, access to over 300K songs, high-end digital equipment, and our special online planning tools. We also offer DJ lighting, up-lighting, party motivators, and photo booth rentals.

I am most proud of the fact that we don’t just entertain our clients, but also build relationships with them and become part of their family. There are numerous families for which we have DJ’d all of their children’s and cousin’s Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Sweet 16’s, graduations, and even weddings. We have also been able to build outstanding relationships with Temple communities in Needham, Belmont, and Brookline, to name a few.

We do a large portion of our business through referrals because we make our clients confident in their choice of entertainment. At the end of the night, we want their clients and their guests to leave the party with smiles on their faces and memories to last a lifetime. With Press Play Entertainment, clients are able to enjoy their event along with their guests because we take care of the logistics.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I measure success in two-ways; the party and the business.

For a party, smiles and a crowded dance floor are what I consider success. As a DJ, the worst thing to experience is an empty dance floor. You know that you are successful and people are having a great time when the floor is packed, people are coming up to make requests, kids are participating in contests and line dances, and guests are asking for business cards at the end of the night.

For the business, we book many of our gigs through referrals and references. If we can secure a client as one or both, I consider it a success for the business. Having consistent bookings month-to-month and generating leads, either through expos, site visits, specialized booking sites, etc., is also a big measure of success for us. While we always want to close, lost leads are still beneficial. It means that our name is continually making its way throughout the market and we are becoming a choice in someone’s decision set.

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Image Credit:
Elin Photography

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