Music, Family, and Grieving

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One of our hosts suffered a tragic loss this week – the loss of a child. Attending the funeral reminded me of some important things. First, that we (CIYH & LRN) are a community. Though we may not all share the same time and space, we are connected by our love of music.

I was reminded with hugs, with the selection of music, and with passionate words that music can be the thread that holds when it feels like our lives are unraveling. Carrie, the host, was unable to enjoy music for several days after the loss of her son. Then Woody Russell called, and reminded her that music is people, that music is love, and music is healing. They met because of house concerts. Then Carrie deliberately chose a song from Leslie Ellis to play during the service, because of the message, the memories, and the feelings from the house concert in June.

The funeral service was attended by a full room of friends and family. Many of these friendships were initiated or strengthened by the sharing of music in Carrie’s home. It was something to see and feel.

Music cannot replace what we lose. Music though, can hold us firmly in it’s rhythm, it can carry us with it’s sweet melodies, and it can anchor the words we hold most precious. Music will not be lost.

Thank you Carrie for letting me share this story, and for being part of our community.

$5 Discount if you check your phone at the door.

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My girlfriend runs a community acupuncture clinic. One of her biggest challenges is not putting pins into people’s bodies. It’s getting them to put away their phones during the treatment.

I have a similar challenge with phones. Is it possible to go to a concert without having the view eclipsed by phones… all night long? First, a few insults;

You:

  • are a terrible photographer
  • are even worse at video (horizontal, please)
  • are not missed because you are unavailable for 90 minutes
  • are never going to have your existential loneliness satisfied by a post, tweet, like, or share. If your life sucks, then the least you can do is enjoy the music.

Put the phone away. I’ll give you five bucks if I have to.

</rant>

LRN/Kickstarter Message for our Artists

Nobody is complaining.

Except me.

Yes, once in a while, I’ll get a suggestion about adding this feature or that one, but in essence, this is a pretty sweet gig. The hosts and venues are kind. The artists are kind. And things just roll along without much drama.

But over here?

  • I want you to get more gigs.
  • I want you to be able to upload and change up your profile more easily.
  • I want a built-in fanbase to attend the house concerts you play.
  • I want a beautiful (totally new) website that works on your phone as well as on your desktop.
  • I want more people discovering your music, whether they can book you or not.
  • I want more people funding your campaigns and becoming part of your career.

I have plans for all this, but artist memberships alone can’t fund all this work.

So in September, we are launching our first ever Kickstarter Campaign, to rebuild Listening Room Network and expand all the great stuff happening with ConcertsInYourHome.com.

Shortly after that, we’ll be asking our hosts to contribute on an annual basis, based on the added value that our network and new booking/networking tools will create for them.

The new website is for you. It’s for our hosts and venues – so they can help you. It’s for me too, because someday I want my legacy of work to be undeniably positive.

I’m saying thank you in advance. I hope you’ll share our expanded vision with your own network of friends. Stay tuned. Kickstarter. This September.

Is the Value of Your Music Judged by Alcohol Sales?

live_ music_and_drink_specialsA friend posted an article about how venues should pay, promote, and feed the artists who play there. It’s a bit of a rant about being asked to “play for exposure.” I know, people die of exposure.

The article is a dig at venue owners and managers, but I think it misses the underlying point. Venues (bars, clubs) are dealing with supply and demand and a terrible business model for listening rooms — get the audience drunk or you don’t make money.

Repeat after me: There is nothing wrong with owning a bar and having live music, and doing the best you can to survive, and allowing artists of all levels to enjoy your space and occasionally make a little money.

But if you want a better deal than that, e.g. a livable wage, venue-inspired promotion, etc., you have to approach venues with what makes sense to them… at least a certain number of attendees who will drink. If that’s not a fit for you, then embrace the alternatives. (House concerts, et al.)

You aren’t going to change the economics of bars unless you become a ticket-selling wonder. Don’t waste your breath trying to change a club-owner’s mind about how they should run their business or book their acts. Their own survival comes first. If it doesn’t, you’ll soon be complaining about a lack of places to play.

In short, don’t try to sell to people who aren’t buying.

 

Event Insurance for House Concerts

donation boxGreat to hear from you. The typical questions we get about insurance have to do with liability e.g. if someone slips and falls on your property.  I’ve never had someone ask about insurance that would be specifically about recouping damage to the home itself.

 

We have always discouraged hosts from keeping a percentage of donations, for a couple of reasons. One, to protect the culture of house concerts, which are an act of generosity. Enabling hosts to “cover expenses” is a slippery slope to acting like a commercial venue. We believe that house concert expenses are voluntary – you don’t have to provide booze, sound system, and catering… you can potluck, byob, and have artists bring what they need.

 

The second reason is legal. While there’s no case law on the matter*, we believe a host is on much firmer ground if 100% of donations go the artist. Anything else could suggest commercial activity in the home – which can violate homeowner’s insurance, zoning, and more.

 

Event insurance can range from $60-600 per event, and it’s fairly easy to shop around online for it. Here’s one. https://www.theeventhelper.com/
Hope this helps!
Fran

 

On Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 12:35 PM, Beth Fizell-Jenkins wrote:
Begin forwarded message:

I’ve been working with a friend to do some house concerts at her home. She had a problem with the last show we did – she had a faulty faucet that someone accidentaly left on, and the sink overflowed and caused about $10K worth of damage to her house. Unfortunately she had an issue with her homeowners – didn’t realize that her deductible was outrageously high, but she just renegotiated and now it’s just $1000 which is much more reasonable.

She’d like to continue doing concerts, but she wants to make sure she’s protected, and she doesn’t want to pay out of pocket for supplies. Is there any kind of protocol – any way to get affordable insurance for the shows? Alternatively, I was thinking the host takes like 5 or 10% from the door of each show to fund an escrow account that the host can use to cover supplies, to cover damage or insurance, or to help pay expenses related to the concert series, that aren’t necessarily directly related to that night’s performance. Do you know anybody doing something like that?

When I ran shows, we always just paid the expenses out of pocket, but she’s a little concerned, and after the water damage issue she’s even more concerned. Wanted to get your thoughts on it.

Thanks,
B.

House Concert Picture Hunt!

House concert pic hunt.jpg
Do you have a concert photo that shows the warmth and appeal of house concerts? Does it have these basic qualities?
  • Good lighting
  • Smiles
  • Closeness

We want to show the joy of house concerts through our growing worldwide community. Over the next few weeks, we’ll like, love, and share your photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, if they include the following two tags: #CIYH #HCpic

For our favorite pics, we may also offer you a social media shoutout and $5 for a fancy coffee or whatever! Upload, tag and share… as many photos as you like. Promotion ends June 30.

Thanks for being part of it! — Fran Snyder

Photo etiquette: Don’t make your camera annoying to people behind you! Sit near the back if you want to take pictures.

Artists: The Power of Listing Your Avails

Every month, we look at the stats from our monthly newsletter, to see what is of most interest to our 6000 subscribers. And every month one of the most clicked links is our “avails button.” In the section where we list our new and renewing artists, there’s a blue button that says “who is looking to tour in your area?”

Are you showing up in these pages where people are looking?

Avails in Newsletter

Section of our monthly newsletter

 

Over the past six years, we’ve continued to create more activity around avails, so how exactly to they work?

  1. Artists login to their profile, and go to their Avails tab. There are five avails* that allow you to list key states, provinces or countries that you are looking to play. For example, you could select FL, GA, and SC (3 states), the key month/date, and add a short phrase to describe what you are looking for, like “Playing southeast this fall, looking for Atlanta show in mid Oct.”
  2. This (and your other 4 avails) will show up in several places at CIYH and LRN – your artist profile, and the avails pages for each state, province or country that you list.

Then what?

The avails pages (one for each state, province, and country) list avails by month, which makes it easy for someone to find artists looking to play in their region on a particular month. On that page, they’ll see your picture, sample track, and a link to your full page profile, which also has a button for them to contact you.

Who sees the avails?

New hosts and venues: Many new hosts and venues are curious about the artists in our network, especially if they aren’t deeply connected to their local or regional scene.

Pro-active hosts and venues: There are a number of hosts who like to see their options rather than waiting for individual artists to find them and reach out.

Bookers outside our network: Since the avails are publicly viewable, artists sometimes get inquiries from outside our membership.

Login and make sure your avails are up to date.

Many pages on the website guide users to have a look at avails, and if you aren’t listing yours, you are likely to be missing some opportunities. Avails are a great way to make the site work for you when you are away from your computer. Use them.

 

*all artists are given 5 updatable avails with their membership. More can be purchased for acts who want to appear in more places on the site.

 

LRFest 2017 – Festival Recap

A Banner Year!

We continued and expanded our yearly celebration of house concerts, setting records for local and travel attendance. 2017 was also a great year for our artists, with each act having a full schedule for the week, and immediate interest for future bookings in our area.

Some Highlights:

  • 500 Attendees at showcase – best of our 6 year history!
  • $2300 (avg) earnings for festival acts.
  • 20 house concerts
  • 5 additional concerts and appearances – office concerts, radio appearances.
  • 6 international attendees (mostly from France)
  • 10 out of state attendees (Tennessee, Minnesota, Virginia, Texas)

Media Impact

Our festival received coverage, articles, and our artists made appearances in:

• Creative Loafing
• St. Pete Times
• WFTS Television (ABC)
• WMNF Radio
• Assorted blogs and websites.

Economic Impact for the City

Listening Room Festival contributes ever-growing revenue for the City of St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay area.

• Room Nights 30 @ $150 = $4500 (24 room nights at host hotel)
• Additional Travel Spending (estimated) = $6000
• After-Party at SouZou, 110 attendees and pre-show dinner bump
• $500 donation to St. Pete Arts Alliance

Preparations already underway for LRFest18! (April 18-22, 2018)

  • Artist applications May 15 – June 30
  • Judging (done by hosts of ConcertsInYourHome.com) June 27 – July 25

photos by Donna Green, of course!

Outdoor vs Indoor Concerts – which is better?

One of the most appealing things about house concerts is the cozy atmosphere that living rooms provide. That said, there are many hosts who prefer to host in gardens, backyards, and patios when possible.
The first trade-off to consider is weather. No artist (or host) wants to have a show canceled due to bad weather, so a backup plan (indoors) is almost always necessary. If you live in a seasonally dry/comfortable area, like California, you can get away with more outdoor events.
The second trade-off is intimacy. Some people do have a cozy garden area with natural barriers or walls to keep people close to the performer, but in general it isn’t AS cosy as an indoor show. An outdoor show almost always requires a sound system since you don’t get the acoustic benefit of walls to keep the sound in.
The third trade-off is safety. This can be a very minor point, but you do have to watch for people falling into a pool, tripping over tree roots, etc. Most homes have additional concerns when inviting guests into the yard.
Lastly, an outdoor show requires friendlier neighbors. Generally, classical or folk and acoustic concerts are not very loud, and most residential areas have relaxed “noise” standards for events that take place at reasonable hours. That said, if you are hosting a band, you should be checking with your neighbors and inviting them to attend. If Alice Cooper lives next door, you’re probably O.K.
Outdoor shows can have their own delightfulness when the weather is perfect, especially if the audience is attentive and close. Compared to a living room show,  a backyard event can typically accommodate a larger band and a larger audience, which is often the main reason a host will choose to indoor shows.
As noted above, indoor shows have more advantages, especially for hosts who can’t draw a large crowd. There’s something very satisfying about having a “full house,” and choosing a limited space can makes it easier to create that feeling of a successful event.

Press Release – House Concert Workshop during LRFest weekend. 4/22/17

For Immediate Release

A house concert workshop has been scheduled for April 22nd, as part of the Listening Room Festival.

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.)

Inquiries: Fran Snyder   727-280-6208, fran at ListeningRoomNetwork.com   Press Photos

http://www.ListeningRoomFestival.com, http://www.ConcertsInYourHome.com