The workshop is led by Fran Snyder, the founder of ConcertsInYourHome.com – the leading resource for house concerts around the world. Anyone interested in hosting house concerts is welcome to attend.
House concerts are an old tradition that has become vital to the careers of independent touring artists. With the shifting sands of technology and the music business, artists have found that the live experience is not easily duplicated (cheapened) and the intimacy of playing in close, homey quarters provides todays best opportunity to sell CDs and merchandise as well.
ConcertsInYourHome educates and inspires music fans to put on concerts in their living rooms, backyards, and other interesting locations. Some of these music fans make house concerts their hobby of choice, hosting 6-12 concerts per year for friends and invited guests.
The workshop takes place during the 6th annual Listening Room Festival – a gathering attended by house concert hosts and fans from around the world. Attendees have 20 house concerts to choose from over 5 days, and the main event is a showcase at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg, featuring all 6 festival acts.
Workshop will include Q&A session and handouts for attendees. Topics will include building an audience, collaborating with other hosts, suggested donations, common mistakes, and some breakthrough ideas.
LRFest Meeting and House Concert Workshop.
Saturday, April 22
Staybridge Suites (meeting room)
940 5th Ave S
St. Petersburg, FL 33705
10am – 11am – breakfast and meet/greet
11am – Festival feedback
11:30am – HC workshop, Q&A based on your advance questions
1pm – wrap-up
The workshop is free for those who register in advance at this link. ($5 at the door if not registered.)
“As soon as we had a great video that showed us at our best, everything became easier – booking, promoting, getting showcases… you name it. It’s one of the best investments we’ve made in our career.” – Rory Cloud of Quiles and Cloud
In mid April we’ll start taking artist applications for the 2018 Listening Room Festival. We want you to be ready, with a couple of videos that will make hosts and venues fall in love with you and your music. These videos can serve you beyond the LRF application, but in booking concerts on your own as well as through services like ConcertsInYourHome. Think of it as a compelling reason to do it now.
Booking is hard work. We (Listening Room Network) are dedicated to making it easier, and more rewarding for you. That said, nothing makes it easier than a great video. This is especially true for house concerts. When you consider the time, effort, and investment that each host makes on your behalf, they can’t just enjoy what you do. They have to love it.
Creating a great video doesn’t have to be expensive, and most of the effort it requires is stuff you should be doing anyway. To get ready,
Pick your most loved song(s) – which ones consistently get the best reaction?
Develop your performance – are you just playing it accurately, or is your performance compelling to watch?
Record drafts of your performances with your phone, or anything that can show you what you are doing. Are you leaning in to parts of the song, making eye contact, etc.
Choose a setting that reflects the type of show you are trying to book… it doesn’t have to be a living room – but an intimate setting would be great.
Recruit some friends/fans to attend the shoot so that you can capture some interaction or at least some applause.
Then reach out to video people in your community. Who can help? What kind of budget will you need to do something cool and compelling? Put something together and try it. Learn from it. This is not your last your video, but it could be the best one yet.
A few years ago we created an internal system so that we could track how well our hosts and artists were communicating. This allowed us to learn
which hosts were having trouble keeping up
how quickly they respond
how favorably they respond
It also allows us to send weekly reminders to hosts about pending inquiries so that artists don’t have to keep asking “did you get my email?”
Here are the all time results over the past few years.
On average, almost half of our artist inquiries are answered within a week. Also, about one-third of the responses are favorable (yes or maybe). These numbers fluctuate a bit (January/February 2017 was pretty bad for response time) but tend to revert to the numbers shown.
What’s exciting now is that soon we’ll be able to show artists how their efforts compare to other artists on the site. Stay tuned!
The following is an excerpt from Fran Snyder’s upcoming book on house concerts. Subscribe to this blog for more content or to the monthly newsletter at ListeningRoomNetwork.com to be notified when the book is available!
Basically, it comes down to three things:
The Host/Volunteer Promotion
Major social and musical trends have raised the value of house concerts for artists at all levels of their careers. In short, there is an ever increasing number of options for people to spend their leisure time, and a growing number of empowered, independent artists vying for that shrinking live-music portion. Audiences are getting smaller, and house concerts allow you to make the most of that small audience.
When you talk with artists who enjoy the house concert format, the consensus is clear that the experience is consistently and significantly better than the clubs. House concerts require less promotional work and earn more money per show. Most of all, the audience is nicer, more attentive, and eager to connect with the performers.
House concerts are the emotional anchors of every tour. — Hans York
Touring artists build up a tolerance to feeling like a stranger. You do get an occasional friendly face, but when your introduction to a new town is a nod from a bartender cleaning the beer lines, it can get pretty bleak out there. After the show, if you aren’t surrounded by new or old friends, the exit can be unremarkable too.
By contrast, a house concert host typically treats you as guest of honor in their home. Hospitality varies, but most artists feel a strong sense of gratitude after a house concert. You get to bask in a successful night a little longer, you get to know people a little better, and the generosity lifts your soul as well as your pocketbook.
Some artists will tell you that the house concert atmosphere is even more valuable than the income. The ability to tell your stories and banter with the audience can make the show like a sweet conversation. For road warriors who occasionally have to play bar gigs, the respect and connection they feel at house concerts reaffirms why they play music in the first place – to connect.
Financially, the house concerts are an even bigger win.
Unless an act is well-funded, established, or gaining hordes of new fans with a viral video, they have to find a way to succeed with small events. Artists can sometimes profit from a house concert with as few as ten attendees.
No overhead costs. Hosts contribute their home and refreshments for free.
No profit motive for the house. Hosts don’t get a percentage of the door/donations.
No promotional costs. Since house concerts are private (for legal, zoning and licensing reasons) there’s usually no need to advertise the show or print posters, etc. The host invites friends, neighbors, and acquaintances.
Due to the intimate presentation, house concerts usually yield more merchandise sales per attendee than public concerts.
Free lodging and food is traditionally offered to the artist. Two major expenses of being on the road, gone. Artists get a bed, a shower, dinner, and maybe even breakfast.
These perks can make small shows financially worthwhile.
The Host/Volunteer Promotion
Already mentioned, but it’s worth noting how this affects your bottom line. Even if you only value your time at $15/hour, the time you spend seeking lodging and attendees adds up. Having your lodging, food, and promotion provided by the host makes a significant difference in the value of the show.
Consider the alternatives for an act playing in a market where they don’t have a big following. The math makes it clear.
For small shows while away from home, when you factor in the savings as well as the income, it’s clear that the house concert can easily provide many times the value that a public venue gig would. It’s probably more enjoyable, too.