Can Wineries and Distilleries be Listening Rooms?

The primary qualification for being in our network is a “listening room atmosphere.”  Although wineries and distilleries can offer a cool vibe, most don’t really push for patrons to be quiet and attentive during the show. Of course, we love to see exceptions to that generality!



We’re developing our Listening Room Network for those die-hard music appreciators who want to be able to hear the lyrics, and enjoy a show without distractions… we think music deserves the same respect as a fine movie. 8^)


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Kickstarter for Listening Room Network

We can no longer maintain the value of recorded music. Anything recorded is available for free. The people who pay for music usually do it because it is coupled with another experience; typically, a live one.

More than ever, we have to affirm the value and the experience of live music.

House concerts have answered the call, allowing volunteers across the globe to affirm their deep love of music and artists by hosting concerts, offering their spaces, their time, and their friends. ConcertsInYourHome has led the way for more than a decade.

In just a few days we’ll be going live with our first-ever Kickstarter Campaign. We’re taking the ConcertsInYourHome community to the next level, and creating a support system for public listening rooms as well.

We started this work in 2006, and while that put us at the forefront of house concert movement, it also means that our sprawling internet platform is dated and needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.

We have some really nice plans for the needs of our community, and we’re looking to include more friends on our journey.

Some of the perks we’ll include are (of course) music, and a very nifty, soft first-ever Listening Room Network t-shirt – our coolest design yet.

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Our campaign also features rewards linked to our Listening Room Festival in St. Petersburg, FL – VIP tickets, hotel packages, sponsorships, and more. This is a wonderful and unique festival, designed to inspire hosts from all over the world to meet their tribe – in person, surrounded by great music. Our biggest contributors can even co-create a Listening Room Festival in their home region, based on the platform and reputation we’ve already developed.

Another set of rewards focus around the music and expertise of Fran Snyder, the founder of CIYH who toured a million miles with his acoustic guitar and original songs before directing his energy and passion into this network. You can book Fran for a house concert as well as a house concert workshop, designed to inspire more activity in your area.

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After 11 years of work, there’s no doubting our commitment to helping and growing this community. Today we face an opportunity together – let’s create the resources and new friends we need to make this community more vibrant than ever.

The campaign starts October 25th. Subscribe to get the first look at the campaign and exclusive rewards.

2017-10-13

 

 

The importance of video (reprise)

 

As I’ve said before, when a host is trying to decide who they want to volunteer to host (volunteer = work for no pay), they need to be impressed, comforted, and confident about their choice. The number one place they seek that is the first video in your CIYH profile (or wherever you send them.)

I thought I would ask our community of hosts directly… what is the first thing you look for/at when an artist sends an email about playing your series? Have a look at the responses — two thirds go “straight to video.”

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Recently, one of our member artists inquired if I could give her ideas about why she wasn’t connecting with hosts on our site. What do you think I did?

I went to her profile and looked at her first video. She’s talented, and the video is well-shot, but it’s not her best song and the groove just feels off. More importantly, it’s not her best video, but it’s the one she has used since she joined. She has never experimented or updated her profile to see if she might get different results.

Are you using YOUR favorite video, or the one that impresses OTHER people? Experiment, try something new, see what happens. Artists need to grow and try new things… but none of that matters if you don’t share it.

Choosing the right video, one that you might already have, can make a huge difference in your booking results. Imagine 10% more gigs… that could be thousands of dollars in a year’s time.

Thousands of dollars. It’s worth trying and testing something new.

Opening Acts – Up or Out?

“Up or Out” is a phrase that Bob Hillman uses in this story, to describe the potential philosophy of paying openers poorly. “Move up or move out” means that you aren’t supposed to make a living wage as an opener… get better, get lucky, or get out of the business. It’s both brutal and practical.

And then there are the romantic stories (thanks Shawn Mullins) of acts like the Indigo Girls who pay openers a living wage, share their massive audience with them, and treat them like family. Maybe that’s all part of moving up… to better opening slots.

It is possible make a music living without drawing a size-able audience in multiple markets. House concerts certainly enable that, and many more acts achieve it by becoming more entertainer (playing whatever, however) than artist.

We all create our own story, but I found Bob’s enlightening. I recommend reading the rest of it here.

 

 

$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.

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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.

 

House Concert Picture Hunt!

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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.