How to Avoid Panic Promotion

Occasionally I get emails from house concert presenters who have an upcoming show with a shortage of RSVPs. They are looking for help or advice for a last minute promotional push to get their numbers up for a healthy turnout.

Note that these following suggestions are even MORE helpful if you don’t wait until a few days out.

Let’s make sure your emails are persuasive.

What makes this artist special? What do you love most? Have you communicated that in an email to your list?

A lot of hosts fall into the habit of “just the facts” when announcing their shows. I find it makes a difference to give them a sentence or two about why this show might be special.

Example: “Aaron’s CD has been the most played music in my car for the past six months. I think you’ll really appreciate the lyrical depth and musical groovy-ness of his music. It reminds me of Peter Gabriel.”

THEN give them the details and how to RSVP.

Brainstorm to get a few more names and emails on your list.

Not everyone picks up the habit of collecting email addresses and interest from people they meet. Is your dentist on your list? Who else have you met lately?

If you don’t have the habit of adding to your list each time you meet new folks, then schedule a regular brainstorm session every month or so. OR, wait til just before you get into panic mode on your concert with light RSVPs. 8^)

Personal calls and emails to key folks.

Remember that some of the people on your list are actual friends that you care (or used to care!) about. Maybe pick up the phone? “Hey I was about to invite you to this special concert I’m hosting, but I figured I’d give you a call and catch up first. How are you?” Re-kindle the friendship, THEN offer to send the invite email. You might even confirm the email address if they’ve been unresponsive in the past. “Is this your best email?”

Ask for help!

Your existing RSVPs can be nudged to invite some friends.

Don’t beg and plead (yet)… people actually like to be helpful. And NEVER be a downer about your numbers. You want to inspire people to attend, and you want them to look forward to future emails. If you establish a pattern of panic and sadness, people will start to tune you out.

So include a special note in your reminder email “we have a few open seats left for this show… is there someone you know that might enjoy joining you for this special concert?”

At Listening Room Network, we help venues and house concerts promote their events to each other, as well as our private community of fans. You can join us and list your events at www.ListeningRoomNetwork.com

What is some advice you’d give to a host who wants to add some last minute RSVPs? Send them to support@listeningroomnetwork.com and we’ll update this post.

And remember, don’t just announce… persuade!

“This concert is a special one because…”

 

Your Cultural Legacy as a Music Fan

Did you just go to shows, or did it mean something? — Fran Snyder

You can be in the music business.
Best of all, you don’t have to pretend it’s your job.

What do I mean?

Until you make it to the top of the corporate music business ladder, you’re poor. You’re overworked. It’s a rough lifestyle.

The best way to be in the music business is as a hobby. It’s easy as

  1. Volunteer
  2. Play a limited role that you enjoy.
  3. Watch the impact that you make on the lives of your friends, and the careers of independent artists you admire.

You can make a difference as a fan, organizer, promoter, or house concert host. Stay at it long enough, and you create your own cultural legacy.

Let us show you how.

Join Us.

franrussfa2014
Russ (right) and his wife Julie have hosted 200+ shows in their home over the past 15 years. What a legacy!

Do House Concert Hosts get a Free CD?

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Photo by Jess Phillips. Listening Room Festival 2019.

A gratitude mindset has served me well over the years. One of the things that I’ve always found odd is that some artists get hung up about giving their house concert host a free CD.

Yes. An artist’s work has value and they shouldn’t be compelled by someone else to give it away for free. But the act of volunteering a gift to someone can often have a lovely effect.

Who should be grateful? The host who gets a personalized performance from a national touring artist in their home? Or the artist who’s been given a captive audience and a warm reception?

Of course, the answer is both.

Sometimes the host will take the lead and offer to buy a CD. Sometimes the artist can take the lead and offer a free keepsake or memento.

Here’s a scenario that’s played out for me (as an artist) many times after a house concert.

ME: (Presenting a signed CD.) I’d like you to have this. Thanks for putting this event together.

HOST: Oh. I want to pay for it.

ME: I’d like to give it to you.

HOST: No. I insist on paying for it. I always buy a CD from the artists. You need the money.

ME: Thank you. That’s very kind. (Taking the money, and presenting something else – another CD, a shirt, or something.) OK. Now you have to accept this gift from me.  8^)

Host then offers – come back and stay with us anytime you’re in this region… here’s some food for the road… marry my daughter… etc.

Lesson: If it’s a point of pride for the host to purchase something… let them. And THEN give them something else as a thank you. [hint: you should have more than one thing for sale.]

Gratitude. It’s so inexpensive in the long run.

 

 

#LRFest – Listening Room Festival 2019 Recap!

When we started LRFest in 2012, it felt like a moonshot. I wanted to create a gathering to celebrate house concerts, and to create a music showcase opportunity in the middle of a profitable tour. This year, our six acts earned a total of $19,500 over 24 house concerts and a beautiful showcase. Most importantly, they created a base of friends, fans and potential gigs in Florida that will pay dividends for years to come.

As is the case with house concerts, the sweet, listening vibe and profitability are the obvious rewards that mask the more important developments of community and connection. On this front, each year, we see more hosts and fans travel to Tampa Bay area to attend shows and make new friendships. We see them cooperate for routing, lodging, and even for volunteer help at each other’s events. The festival community is creating a rich, cultural tapestry of music support in our region.

Our volunteer crew doubled this year, another sign of the health and impact of our festival. For me, the biggest thrill is the growing number of hosts and fans who travel to St. Petersburg for this event. They come from different cities, different states, and even different countries – to take in a music vacation filled with house concerts and time with their tribe.

We hope you’ll join us for this one-of-a-kind festival.

LRFest 2020 is March 25 – 29, 2020

Will you apply as a performer? (Deadline May 15th, 2019)
Will you host a show in Florida or the southeast?
Will you join your music tribe for a music vacation?

RSVP automation for LRN hosts and venues!

new features at LRN

Have you ever lost an attendee or two, because

  • you didn’t reply to their RSVP soon enough or at all?
  • you forgot to send them a reminder email, and they forgot about their commitment to you?

Or maybe you get it done every time, but would enjoy a little automation?

We’ve made substantial improvements for hosts and venues in our network, to solve these problems for you.

Our new RSVP system now has the following:

  1. Auto-confirmations – RSVPs can receive an automatic reply saying “confirmed!” with instructions, directions, etc.
  2. Customized confirmation/reminder messages – use the prepared template, and/or add anything you wish.
  3. Auto-reminders – 2 days before your show, confirmed RSVPs get a reminder message.
  4. FULL – setting if you’d like to stop getting RSVPs for a particular event.

We have a lot more planned as well, including a “wait list” setting and guest list printout.

In the next few months we’ll also be promoting our new fan memberships, to help boost attendance at your shows.

So take a minute to list your upcoming shows, try out the new stuff, and maybe connect with some new people!

Notice the RSVPs (30) and the (auto) confirmation setting in the image below!

Screen Shot 2019-04-04 at 1.39.50 PM

 

House Concert Legal – City of Herndon and Crib Concerts

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Once in a while, we get a report that a house concert has had trouble with zoning violations. Zoning laws can cite various reasons why a house concert could be in violation – parking, noise, and commercial activity are the most common.

In the case of Crib Concerts, the complaint is about “Indoor Entertainment,” and specifically because it has been deemed a commercial activity by the local zoning Community Inspector. Unfortunately for Chris Devine, he lives and operates his concerts in a redevelopment district of Herndon that has even more restrictions than the city on property use.

The host is appealing to the city, and we have to give serious kudos to him for honoring the next 5 booked concerts. Since the issue will take months to resolve, Chris created a GoFundMe to cover the cost of the fines. That’s a fine example of commitment to artists, and engaging your community to rally for your cause.

One has to wonder how the complaint originated, but my money is always on someone like this guy.

screen shot 2019-01-18 at 12.21.40 pm

I’m guessing Mr. Morningwood has never been to a house concert. What do you think?

 

 

 

 

LRNetwork offers privacy and promotion for private events (house concerts.)

House concerts need to be privately promoted. LRN provides exactly that.

Although we offer public listings for public venues, LRN has been rebuilt to enable better privacy for house concerts. Since house concerts typically take place in residences, it is important (for legal, safety, zoning, and insurance reasons) that they be private.

Previously, as we also did at ConcertsInYourHome, we offered the public the opportunity to “introduce themselves” to our hosts via our event calendars. This was to encourage conversation and connection instead of automatic, impersonal confirmations. We found that busy hosts found it tempting to just say “yes, please join us, here’s my address!”

Despite very few bad experiences, we know that casually inviting a lot of strangers into your home isn’t safe practice. We also know that getting to know your audience can provide great new friendships and opportunities.

You might think that our increased privacy would be detrimental to the promotion of house concerts, but here’s a surprising opportunity. Now that our network is truly private, we can promote more effectively to the people who care. In order to do this, at long last, we created FAN memberships!

Fan memberships are designed to increase engagement and attendance. People who attend a few house concerts per year will be able to attend a few house concerts per month. They’ll be able to spread the word more effectively by promoting our whole network to their friends and families.

And house concert hosts will be able to see the track record of these fans. Do they show up after they RSVP? Are they spreading the word in ways that should be rewarded? This is information that can be vital to growing a house concert audience.