One of my priorities when I started ConcertsInYourHome, in 2006, was to create a place where hosts could be part of a community, without getting overwhelmed by artist inquiries, like clubs and venues often do.
One of the ways we achieved this is by restricting the number of artists in our network. Artists in the network benefit by belonging to the only place on the web where there are more opportunities than artists.
We found the best way to restrict artist membership was first by quality of promotional materials, and second, by cost.
Quality of promotional materials
Artists have to submit videos and a website and be evaluated by hosts in the network. This serves several purposes.
- Hosts, the ones who do the booking, have an important voice in shaping the artist membership. This helps create more bookings.
- It allows artists to get meaningful feedback about their promotional materials, and prevents them from paying money to join a website where they’ll get few or no bookings. Hosts invest a lot into their events, and if they don’t know the artist personally, the material has to be impressive. Songs, videos, tour history, etc.
The amount of money someone is willing to spend is a clear indication of how much they value the product or service. In the early days, we found ourselves evaluating artists who had no idea what house concerts were, and no appreciation of what the community has to offer. By gradually increasing the cost of joining, we’ve accomplished a few things.
- We’ve attracted better and better artists, who see house concerts not just as gigs, but a meaningful and treasured resource for their art-form and career.
- We’ve been able to hire some talented staff to make our community grow and improve, providing an upward cycle of opportunity for our artists.
The cost/investment however, is still low enough to be recouped after just one booking.
Looking at recent activity, we see that hosts receive an average of 2-3 artist requests per month. Of course, some get inquiries from outside sources, but it’s clear that CIYH has accomplished the original goal. Hosts are not overwhelmed, and member artists can book shows without getting lost in a huge pile.