Political music and speech at concerts…

A concert is an agreement between the host/venue and the artist. The booker should research the artist and get the basic vibe. The artist with strong or suggestive material that may not be obvious from their website should say so. If it’s not a fit, you move on.

If you want to be political (this applies to more than music) you will pay a price for it. An activist is someone willing to pay the price. But if you are excellent at political/suggestive music (a la Ani DiFranco, Roy Zimmerman, Eric Schwarz) there are also rewards… including a very loyal audience.

Fran Snyder

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CIYH Artists of the Year – 2017

Each year, we recognize three talented acts for their successful use of the site,and the reviews and recommendations we’ve received from our host community. Touring is a difficult sport, and these acts have demonstrated not just talent, but persistence, kindness, and a willingness to go where the opportunities are. Congrats!

2017 Artists of the Year!

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Daniel Champagne

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Flagship Romance

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Dan Frechette & Laurel
Thomsen

Honorable Mentions

These artists had a great year with us as well!

Rupert Wates, Danika & The Jeb, Matt Bednarsky, The Currys, Kelley McRae, Escaping Pavement, Woody Russell, and Brian Keith Wallen.

Note: Artists of the Year are not eligible to win for the following two years.

Examples: Tell us about your venue/series!

When a new host or venue signs up, they often find it hard to describe the intent, vibe, or highlights of their series. So we’ve created this post to give some compelling or helpful examples of what you might say to the public, or to your invitees, about your events.

PRIVATE HOUSE CONCERT

EXAMPLE 1: Ours is an outdoor backyard concert series in the heart of Birmingham’s Avondale neighborhood.  We host talented musicians from all over the world in an intimate and rustic setting from April through October. Guests are invited to bring their lawn chair and a favorite beverage to enjoy great music under our giant oak tree.

EXAMPLE 2: Tucked away in a stunning high desert location at the southern end of the Hualapai Mountains of northwest Arizona is the home of Ben & Yrma, where you can see intimate concerts with high quality Folk and Americana musicians. For attendees it’s a great place to spend quality time with friends and neighbors, and to share “once in a lifetime” musical events. For artists, a place to recharge, refresh & have a great time playing music.

EXAMPLE 3: Dedicated to music for me and you by supporting independent, “hand crafted” music. “Behind the storms of daily conflict, crisis and struggle, it is the artist, and the poet and the musician that continues the quiet work of the centuries, building bridges of experience between peoples,  reminding us of the universality of our feelings, desires, and despairs, and reminding us that the forces that unite are deeper than those that divide.” (John F. Kennedy) Our house concerts pull together a diverse group of people with a common interest in music and we have a blast!  Join us for a wonderful evening of handcrafted music….

EXAMPLE 4: We do our concerts outdoors whenever possible (weather permitting), on the screened patio by the pool, in the evenings under the moon and stars, often with soft candlelight setting the mood and the scent of night blooming jasmine permeating the air. 

We ask for RSVP’s in advance so that we can be adequately prepared.  We no longer do pot luck dinners… they require extra room, and we’d rather use that space to squeeze in a few additional guests.  However, we ask guests to bring a light snack or dessert item (finger food only) to share, and we provide plenty of soft drinks and beverages.  (The coffee pot is always going.)  There is always time to socialize and chat (with other guests as well as with the artist) before the concert begins and during the break.  For the safety and comfort of all guests, our concerts are smoke and alcohol free.

Occasionally, depending on the artist preference, folks will stay after the concert is over, and there will be jamming.  We love having company, and Sunday mornings after a concert generally means lox and bagels on the patio.  Each concert is unique, as each artist is unique… so we never fully know what to expect.  But concert weekends are always an incredible experience.

 

PUBLIC VENUES

EXAMPLE 1: Our Vineyard & Winery is a brand new venue created for live acoustical music. Indoor and outdoor stages designed by a sound engineer to provide intimate acoustical performances in a creative, artistic and inspiring atmosphere. We want to support and encourage original music from all genres. We have housing to accommodate four artists and are near Amish country and many other enriching destinations.

EXAMPLE 2: Ours is not a traditional “house concert,” because we have a permanent venue at a local UU Church. We have been around since 1993, and at this venue since 1996. <p>We are non-profit, and 100% volunteer-run. Our unofficial motto is “We’re a great place to play on your way to somewhere else,” but that philosophy has helped us host an impressive list of performers over the years.

EXAMPLE 3: Our Coffeehouse is a non-profit, volunteer-run venue. We encourage local and regional performers who play both cover and original material. We’re open every Friday evening from 7:00-10:00PM, pass the hat for donations, and there’s no cover charge. We have an opening and a feature act.If you’re just starting out or you don’t want to play a full show, we also offer an open mic night on the third Thursday, and a song circle on the first Thursday of each month.

 

 

 

What change are we trying to make?

change

I’ve begun The Marketing Seminar, taught by Seth Godin. In it, he asks some poignant questions, making sure that we unearth our core values before piling on tactics and advice on how to reach the right people for our community. Here was the first question.

What change are you trying to make?

For artists, I want to teach them that performing in noisy places and hoping to be discovered is only one way to make it in the music business, and that’s it’s probably not the best way. For some artists, playing small, intimate concerts is the best way to hone your craft, make a living, make new fans, and to reach them more profoundly.

For music fans, I want to teach them that music is as beautiful and promising as it ever has been, and the experience of hearing a small, independent artist or group in the right atmosphere can be sublime. For some fans, the ones who are generous, and inspired by the possibility of helping artists grow, I want to teach them how they can participate, by hosting concerts – in their living rooms, gardens, or other remarkable spaces.

I want these two groups to form a growing community called the Listening Room Network. It’s already started, but there’s a long way to go.

Booking System Updates at LRN

Our Goals:

  • make booking easier for hosts and artists.
  • improve host response rates.
  • decrease artist errors in reaching out to hosts.
  • allow members to track results and learn how we can best improve this process.

Artist Inquiries

  • automatically attach artist profile links
  • feature most important information
  • restrict emails to a length that hosts are more likely to read.
  • give hosts easy decision choices and room to add details.
  • allow us to track how things are going.
  • copy the artist for easy record keeping, and the history is downloadable if you misplace your emails.

Host responses include

  • clear subject headers for artists to sort and keep track in their email folders, and a link to the host’s profile
  • the original request so that artists see what the host is actually responding to.
  • the host email address if the answer is Yes, Maybe, or Not Now so that communication
  • can continue independently. A reply of “No” prevents artists from persisting or challenging the host decisions.

This system creates tabs for hosts to organize the artists they’ve looked at. Artists with a Yes or Maybe status allow the host to share a “potential artists” page with their mailing list so that they can book shows with more interest, advance RSVPs, and better turnouts.

Please remember that some hosts actively look at the avails pages to find artists. Be sure to update your profile regularly to make sure that your avails are current and the right hosts can find you.

Your fans,

CIYH

LRN kickSMARTER campaign…

We started this fundraising campaign at Kickstarter, which became too limiting. You can now contribute two ways:

About

Let’s create a remarkable place for music fans and a support system for the listening rooms that we love. 

We started back when the internet was made of wool and sticks. It’s amazing what we’ve been able to accomplish with squirrel-powered computers and an etch-a-sketch.

But it’s time to rebuild!

In order to launch some wonderful new features and tools for our treasured artists and music fans, we’re totally revamping our websites. We’re making them mobile friendly, and paving the way for a brighter future.

We’re also launching fan memberships, allowing more people to connect and enjoy what we do, even if they don’t host concerts or perform.

In the video, I’m wearing a Concerts In Your Home t-shirt. That was our first website, and it’s still going strong today, with thousands of events each year. But all these events are part of a larger ecosystem of musical goodness. Great, intimate concerts don’t have to happen in a living room! They can happen almost anywhere, provided the right people show up.

That’s why we created the Listening Room Network, to support public venues as well as private ones, and to create lots of new opportunities for artists to find a listening audience and a living wage. You, the fan, get more opportunities to get up close and personal.

Replacing and upgrading 10 years of work is a massive investment of time and money, and your participation will help us do it quickly and do it right.

The internet was designed to help us connect… and so was music! Listening Room Network is about making those connections last. 

We’re excited to include you in our journey. As a supporter, you’ll be among the first fan memberships, and be able to help us in the creation of perks and benefits we’ll provide for our members. You’ll be able to see our updated designs and features before we roll them out.

Finally, we hope to inspire you to join your fellow fans and contributors at our Listening Room Festival, the largest annual gathering of house concert fans. We think you need a music vacation every year – Florida is beautiful in April, and this one-of-a-kind festival is so charming. Join us if you can!

Some of our Rewards!

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You can now contribute two ways:

LRN Kickstarter – Impact on artists

You might know that I started as a singer-songwriter, and ConcertsInYourHome grew out of the challenges I had trying to find house concerts and inspire new ones. I decided that if the resource was good enough, I could share it with other artists and it would pay for itself.

We’ve launched a Kickstarter to take these efforts to the next level. I’m asking you to check it out, and consider sharing.

Here’s why a successful campaign will help you, as a member of CIYH and LRN.

1. Our sites will attract more hosts and fans. Let’s face it… our sites are ugly. They are built on a 10 year old framework, and they are not mobile friendly at all – 30% of our traffic is mobile and we are losing all of them. This campaign will help us rebuild our sprawling websites into attractive, mobile-friendly resources to inspire more people to join up and see you at a show.

2. Fan memberships will engage more attendees, and allow hosts and venues to plug into a growing ecosystem of people who adore the listening room experience. When a host stops booking shows, those music fans are lost, because we haven’t connected them to the network. In the future, a new host could pop up and have instant support from area fans who feel underserved by the amount of activity in their area.

3. Hosts will be able to collaborate on bookings, potentially turning one show into two or three for you.

More hosts and venues

More fans more attendance

More activity and connections

Please check out the campaign, the fun video, and consider sharing our inspirational message with your friends.

Your fan,

Fran Snyder

founder, CIYH and LRN

Click and visit our Kickstarter!

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LRN Kickstarter – Why not just make ConcertsInYourHome better?

Excellent question. After all, we’ve spent 11 years developing and promoting CIYH, it’s what we’re known for, and it’s where we lead. We certainly haven’t lost any passion for house concerts, either.

I’ll run through some bullet points, but first let me remind you of our core mission.

We inspire, promote, and help connect “gigs where people listen.” We help touring artists earn a living wage and find appreciative audiences. We help music fans who appreciate a deeper connection with artists, and those who want to play an important role in the development of music careers.

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Although house concerts are wonderful expression of “gigs where people listen,” they are not and should not be the only place where deep musical connections happen. Listening Rooms, public and private, need to be supported and promoted.

Here’s why the Listening Room Network is important, and why we are dedicating ourselves to its success.

  1. Artists and fans need public venues – these spaces offer more possibilities, more space, and more exposure to new fans. Compared to solos and duos, bands have trouble finding house concerts. Bigger sound systems, lights, stages, all help to elevate music in ways that don’t always work in a house concert setting. We need to support  public venues.
  2. We need to make booking shows and tours easier. Booking is hard work, and our artists need to be able to find more opportunities in one place. LRN allows them to find and connect more shows, beyond the limits of what a house-concerts-only site can provide.
  3. House concerts and listening rooms should be allies. Although most people still don’t know about house concerts, even fewer know what  listening rooms are and why they are important. Our house concert community will benefit from being affiliated and friendly with listening rooms in their region. House concerts are creating new fans – fans who can enjoy and support listening rooms too.
  4. The work of running a listening room is very similar to the work of house concerts. The platform we built for CIYH is a great start for serving listening rooms, and we’ve already begun adapting it for their use. In fact, we already have members who host house concerts and help run a listening room.
  5. Fans need more attention and more fun. Our concerts need fans, and fans need a place to connect and engage. For more than a decade, we’ve focused on connecting and supporting artists and venues. While this creates lost of shows, it does not provide enough support to attract like-minded music fans – which are the lifeblood of successful concerts. LRN will feature robust fan memberships, where they can support, review, and share the artists and venue the enjoy the most.

There are plenty of music sites trying to be everything for every artist and every venue. That’s not where we are headed. By staying true to our love of LISTENING rooms and an affinity for places where artists can make a living wage (without the pre-requisite of being famous in that town), we can include public venues and still maintain a community that engages the right kinds of fans.

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Please support our kickstarter campaign before November 15th. I’ll be expanding on this post.

LRN Kickstarter – Message for hosts to share with friends.

MESSAGE FOR HOSTS TO SHARE – campaign ends November 15th!

Subject: A fun and worthy music project you can support.

Dear Friends,

You might already know how much house concerts mean to me, but you might not know how vital they are to the music world.

Right now, there’s a fun campaign to help more people discover and connect with these events around the world.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/365553320/listening-room-network-house-concerts-and-so-much

Please check out the short video, the meaningful goals, and fun rewards you can choose if you decide to contribute.

Thank you for your generosity. Hope to see you at our next show.

Your friend….

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Release: Kickstarter for Listening Room Network

For Immediate Release (10-23-2017)

Listening Room Network re-launch and Kickstarter Campaign

Listening Room Network (LRN) promotes concerts with an intimate, “listening room atmosphere.” These types of events include the growing global phenomenon of house concerts, which have become a vital resource for small, independent touring acts.

Listening Room Network is consolidating its websites to include equally vital public spaces that foster close proximity and deep listening. “Listening Rooms” are the types of places where someone is likely to say “shhhh” when people talk during the show.

“We believe a good live performer deserves the same respect you’d give to a fine movie. It’s not cool to talk during a movie – so why would it be OK to talk during a concert?” — Fran Snyder, founder.

LRN aims to raise $32,000 to upgrade it’s websites, provide new services, and launch fan memberships. “For 11 years, we’ve been serving artists and venues… it’s time we provide more for our fans.”

Living room concerts have a lot of history, going back (at least) to the days of chamber music in the Renaissance. LRN began in 2006 as ConcertsInYourHome.com, specifically to promote this concept to music fans, and to inspire them to try their hand at hosting concerts and promoting them to friends and neighbors. The site now creates thousands of events per year around the world, with 80% of the activity is still in the U.S. They also hold the annual Listening Room Festival, in St. Petersburg FL every spring.

The Kickstarter Campaign runs from October 25th to November 15th, 2017.

Campaign Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/365553320/listening-room-network-house-concerts-and-so-much

Press Photos:  on Google drive. 

Site Link: http://www.ListeningRoomNetwork.com

Contact: Fran Snyder

727-280-6208

Listening Room Network is based in St. Petersburg, FL.