LRN kickSMARTER campaign…

We started this fundraising campaign at Kickstarter, which became too limiting. You can now contribute two ways:

About

Let’s create a remarkable place for music fans and a support system for the listening rooms that we love. 

We started back when the internet was made of wool and sticks. It’s amazing what we’ve been able to accomplish with squirrel-powered computers and an etch-a-sketch.

But it’s time to rebuild!

In order to launch some wonderful new features and tools for our treasured artists and music fans, we’re totally revamping our websites. We’re making them mobile friendly, and paving the way for a brighter future.

We’re also launching fan memberships, allowing more people to connect and enjoy what we do, even if they don’t host concerts or perform.

In the video, I’m wearing a Concerts In Your Home t-shirt. That was our first website, and it’s still going strong today, with thousands of events each year. But all these events are part of a larger ecosystem of musical goodness. Great, intimate concerts don’t have to happen in a living room! They can happen almost anywhere, provided the right people show up.

That’s why we created the Listening Room Network, to support public venues as well as private ones, and to create lots of new opportunities for artists to find a listening audience and a living wage. You, the fan, get more opportunities to get up close and personal.

Replacing and upgrading 10 years of work is a massive investment of time and money, and your participation will help us do it quickly and do it right.

The internet was designed to help us connect… and so was music! Listening Room Network is about making those connections last. 

We’re excited to include you in our journey. As a supporter, you’ll be among the first fan memberships, and be able to help us in the creation of perks and benefits we’ll provide for our members. You’ll be able to see our updated designs and features before we roll them out.

Finally, we hope to inspire you to join your fellow fans and contributors at our Listening Room Festival, the largest annual gathering of house concert fans. We think you need a music vacation every year – Florida is beautiful in April, and this one-of-a-kind festival is so charming. Join us if you can!

Some of our Rewards!

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You can now contribute two ways:

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LRN Kickstarter – Why not just make ConcertsInYourHome better?

Excellent question. After all, we’ve spent 11 years developing and promoting CIYH, it’s what we’re known for, and it’s where we lead. We certainly haven’t lost any passion for house concerts, either.

I’ll run through some bullet points, but first let me remind you of our core mission.

We inspire, promote, and help connect “gigs where people listen.” We help touring artists earn a living wage and find appreciative audiences. We help music fans who appreciate a deeper connection with artists, and those who want to play an important role in the development of music careers.

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Although house concerts are wonderful expression of “gigs where people listen,” they are not and should not be the only place where deep musical connections happen. Listening Rooms, public and private, need to be supported and promoted.

Here’s why the Listening Room Network is important, and why we are dedicating ourselves to its success.

  1. Artists and fans need public venues – these spaces offer more possibilities, more space, and more exposure to new fans. Compared to solos and duos, bands have trouble finding house concerts. Bigger sound systems, lights, stages, all help to elevate music in ways that don’t always work in a house concert setting. We need to support  public venues.
  2. We need to make booking shows and tours easier. Booking is hard work, and our artists need to be able to find more opportunities in one place. LRN allows them to find and connect more shows, beyond the limits of what a house-concerts-only site can provide.
  3. House concerts and listening rooms should be allies. Although most people still don’t know about house concerts, even fewer know what  listening rooms are and why they are important. Our house concert community will benefit from being affiliated and friendly with listening rooms in their region. House concerts are creating new fans – fans who can enjoy and support listening rooms too.
  4. The work of running a listening room is very similar to the work of house concerts. The platform we built for CIYH is a great start for serving listening rooms, and we’ve already begun adapting it for their use. In fact, we already have members who host house concerts and help run a listening room.
  5. Fans need more attention and more fun. Our concerts need fans, and fans need a place to connect and engage. For more than a decade, we’ve focused on connecting and supporting artists and venues. While this creates lost of shows, it does not provide enough support to attract like-minded music fans – which are the lifeblood of successful concerts. LRN will feature robust fan memberships, where they can support, review, and share the artists and venue the enjoy the most.

There are plenty of music sites trying to be everything for every artist and every venue. That’s not where we are headed. By staying true to our love of LISTENING rooms and an affinity for places where artists can make a living wage (without the pre-requisite of being famous in that town), we can include public venues and still maintain a community that engages the right kinds of fans.

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Please support our kickstarter campaign before November 15th. I’ll be expanding on this post.

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^)

 

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 27th. Subscribe to get the first look at the campaign and exclusive rewards.

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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.