The Difference Between Listening Rooms (LR) and House Concerts (HC)

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We’re proud to re-launch ListeningRoomNetwork.com. LRN allows us to serve listening rooms of all types, in much the same way we’ve inspired and helped house concerts around the world. Also, it allows our member artists to connect with all of them through one platform, instead of bouncing back and forth from CIYH and LRN.
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Which begs the question, at Listening Room Network, what’s the difference between LR venues and house concerts?
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(HC) House concerts must
  1. be private events, not open to the public
  2. give 100% of door to the artists. Door is a suggested donation, not a charge/ticket.
  3. (OK should) be in a house, clubhouse or residential looking space.
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(LR) venues may
  1. be public or private
  2. charge an admission fee or sell advance tickets
  3. keep a percentage
  4. be located just about anywhere, but probably not a house.
It’s important to note that we are not trying to cater to all venues. Our mission is to put talented artists in front of listening audiences, and to help touring musicians earn a living wage. Mileage will vary, but we appreciate your input if you find one of our venues is not a good fit.

Can Performers Help Me Promote My House Concerts?

Performers are public figures, so their websites and email lists are for public promotion. If your concert is listed on their website, it can be considered a public event. [We’ve seen a house concert shut down by local government for this. Officials claimed it was a public event because it was listed on the artist’s website, with the host’s email address. Many artists/agents are unaware of this and they will list your info on their website unless you tell them not to.]

Hosts find it tempting to encourage artists help fill seats. Artists are often happy to help (if they can) by emailing their fans in the area, because that can create a bigger show and increase donations. The challenge is they don’t personally know most people on their list, and inviting unknown fans to your home poses TWO types of risks – 1. making your event public, and 2. having un-vetted strangers in your home.

It’s important to take a sober look at the risks you take when you have any gathering in your home. People can damage items, steal, or even fall and hurt themselves. These problems are rare and could even be trivial. But there is always a chance it could be serious. That’s why we advocate for the safest practices, and encourage you to personally connect (online, by phone, or even in person) with people before you invite them in your home.

Can performers help at all?

Here’s what we recommend:

If the artist wants to list your house concert on their website, tell them to list it like this:

safeartistwebsitepromo

Notice that the host’s email address, phone number, or street address are not publicly listed. The reader would have to use the email form on the artist website to ask for an introduction.

Now, the artist can vet (approve) the fan and introduce them to you, the host, like this: 

artistvetsfanemail

Of course, the decision to invite Ben is up to you. Friending him on Facebook or exchanging a few emails begins a relationship that takes it beyond “someone who just asked if they could come.” You’ve been introduced (by the band) and you’ve communicated, and you’ve added them to your guest list.

Again, there’s no case law on this, but doesn’t this sound safer than having musicians invite every local bar patron they’ve played for?

This is an excerpt from the new house concert guide from Fran Snyder and ConcertsInYourHome.com – subscribe to this blog or to our monthly newsletter to be notified when the guide is published. 

Press Release: Listening Room Festival 2017 (#LRFest17)

Featured

For Immediate ReleaseScreen Shot 2017-03-07 at 9.48.18 AM
Florida “House Concert” Festival Connects Fans from All Over the World

The 6th Annual Listening Room Festival invites house concert presenters, artists and fans to join in this year’s festivities. Music-lovers from around the globe are traveling to St. Petersburg, FL to enjoy the house concerts, showcase, and planned group activities from April 19-23, 2017.

Six international contest winners will play the Main Showcase (April 21) at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg, as well as house concerts in the surrounding region. This year’s artists are The Currys, Teneia, Mark Croft, Flagship Romance, Daniel Champagne, and Christie Lenée.

House concerts are the core of the festival. Music fans volunteer to host living room concerts, and invite friends to attend an up-close-and-personal show by a professional touring artist. Attendees are asked to make a suggested donation of $10-20 per person to the performers.

The main showcase at the Palladium Theater features all six acts and is not to be missed.  In addition, this year’s festival includes group activities and workshops to educate and inspire fans to join the growing house concert movement.

2017 Festival Schedule

Schedule is subject to change. Please register for the festival to receive updates.

Wednesday April 19

  • Evening – House Concerts (Tampa, Tarpon Springs, Largo, Clearwater, Safety Harbor)

Thursday April 20

  • Day – Office Concert at the Greenhouse (St. Petersburg)
  • Evening – House Concerts (St. Petersburg, Tampa, Brandon, Clearwater)

Friday April 21

  • 7:30pm Main Showcase at Palladium Theater, featuring all 6 acts! (tickets)
  • 10:30pm After-Party at SouZou – festival performers cut loose and jam. Enjoy themed cocktails named after our festival artists. This will sell out – VIP ticket holders get free entry, all others must purchase.

Saturday April 22

  • 11am House Concert Workshop and Host Meet and Greet
  • Tour of St. Pete Arts District
  • Evening – House Concerts (St. Petersburg, Seminole, Tampa, Brandon, Clearwater)

Sunday April 23

  • 10:30am – Brunch for hosts, featured artists, and invited guests.
  • Beach or sightsee on your own
  • Evening – House Concerts (St. Petersburg, Dunedin, Ft. Myers, Sarasota)

 

The festival is presented by ConcertsInYourHome.com, part of The Listening Room Network.

More information and tickets are available through ListeningRoomFestival.com.

About the Listening Room Network:

Listening Room Network (LRN) creates and nurtures opportunities that pay artists to perform in a listening environment while bringing communities together with a renewed passion for live music. LRN and its signature websites (ConcertsInYourHome.com, OfficeConcerts.com) are leading innovators in the live music industry.

Contact/Press Photos: 

Fran Snyder 727-280-6208fran@ListeningRoomNetwork.com

Website: www.ListeningRoomFestival.com

Free house concert guide: Download (PDF)

HighRes Press photos: Office Concerts, House Concerts, Fran Snyder, and Festival Finale.

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When your artist cancels the show.

The world of touring is unpredictable. Artists, hosts and agents have many opportunities to make scheduling mistakes that get discovered days or hours before the show. Performers can have missed or canceled flights, driving delays and breakdowns.

As a sharp host, you don’t want your promotional efforts to go to waste when these things happen… so what can you do to prepare for late cancelations?

  1. Have a list of great local artists who would be delighted to play a show on short notice.
  2. Have your mailing list and guest list up-to-date so you can announce a last minute change of program.
  3. Be prepared to scale down the show due to the changes. Fewer chairs, less food, etc.

A local act can even work if your main act is 2 hours late but still wants to play. For example, the local act might set up on the patio to play a set, allowing the act to set up undistracted inside when they arrive. Guests who can’t stay late can still have a great show. The opening act might receive a flat donation from the host, in exchange for the opportunity to connect and sell CDs.

This kind of preparation doesn’t take much effort, and can turn a potential disappointment into a surprisingly fun event. If you need help finding great talent in your area, visit http://www.ListeningRoomNetwork.com and click on Artists.

Proper Care and Feeding of Your Artists

Should the artist expect dinner at the house concert or venue? Certainly, this should be confirmed by phone a few days before the show, but why not make it clear in your host/venue profile?

For most house concerts and venues, feeding the artist before or after the show is expected. Depending on their arrival time, artists may prefer to skip dinner or just snack before the show, and opt for a more relaxed meal after the guests have gone.

With an early arrival time, it can be quite nice to have dinner (host, artist, and maybe a few special guests) together. This takes extra effort and planning, and if it’s too much for the host to take on they should simply say so.

Through ConcertsInYourHome.com, there’s an easy place to put this information when you list your show. It’s the confirmation page (step 3). Read the “Accommodations and Additional Info” in the example below.

ciyhconfirmationpage

This confirmation page is available to artists at anytime for reference. All they have to do is login and click on your show on their Start Page to see this information at the top of the webflyer.

Hectic travel schedules often lead to artists forgetting to confirm these details. Hosts can be pro-active to make sure food will not be a stressful or disappointing part of the artist’s experience.

Artists are capable of picking up some food before they arrive at your home. It’s not ideal, but it’s not a big deal if you can warn them ahead of time. Please have some suggestions for them, and include some gluten-free and veggie options if possible. It’s best to send these options in an email.

Some hosts really cherish the opportunity to sit down with the artist for a meal before the show. It doesn’t always work with the schedule of the artist and host, but when it does, a home-cooked meal for a traveling artist is a lovely treat.

 

Commit to Five Minutes per Month at ConcertsInYourHome?

One of our greatest and most persistent stumbling blocks is keeping our community up to date. When hosts and artists fail to update their profiles it creates more work, and costs our members countless opportunities to communicate easily, to book more concerts, and to get more attendees.

What is stunning, is that most updates can be done in less than 5 minutes.

  • Listing a show can be done in less than 2 minutes. Result? Other artists are less likely to ask for concerts around that time, and people (attendees and hosts who want to collaborate) are more likely to see the show in our calendar.
  • Updating booking information in a host profile can help artists self-select (better) according to your needs. If you are looking to fill a show in August, say so. If you prefer to host duos, if you can only book up to 4 months out… all these things can help you communicate with artists who fit your needs.
  • Artists – replacing one or two avails in your profile takes so little time, and can lead to discovery from hosts in the areas you most want to tour. When was the last time you changed up your songs, videos, or bio? Is it possible another combination would work better?

Yes, updated information isn’t always digested correctly. For example, some artists will still ask for shows at inappropriate times, and those are the easiest ones to notice. However, what you don’t notice, is how many artists DID follow your instructions and decided not to contact you at that time. Good information helps everyone, even if it’s not every time.

For as little as 5 minutes per month, the value of your membership can increase significantly. An up-to-date community creates much more opportunity.

Is Your Music Career a Race?

Are you competing more than cooperating? Do others have to lose for you to win?

Musicians approach their music with various personalities and intentions. To succeed at music it’s important to figure out your “why?” Do you simply love to play and create? Does the creative process stifle you, but you go through it so that you can play live shows?

I think most of our blocks in life exist because we are unable to assess our strengths, our passions, and our weaknesses. Know your limitations (racing doesn’t inspire me), and get clear on what you love and what situations make you the most effective. Then figure out how to create those situations more often.

If you want to race, winning will require a lot more sacrifice.

Maybe you just like running.

Updated Booking Lights at ConcertsInYourHome

Thanks to recent feedback we’re adding clarity and ease to our booking system. We’re asking hosts to re-think how CIYH artists can best self-select to send inquiries that make sense for your schedule.

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Green Light:
For hosts with flexibility, reluctance to book far ahead, loving the pickup TenTen concerts, filling a cancelation, or just getting started and looking to fill some dates quickly…. the green light is the best choice.

Yellow Light:
For hosts who always look 4 – 18 months ahead.

Red Light: No artist inquiries for (up to) 90 days.

Red lights expire and revert to yellow after 90 days, so that hosts are prompted to reconnect with our artist community and to update their profile info – at least a few times per year. Hosts receive an email alert when the change happens, and there’s a built-in login link in the email so that they can change back to red in about 20 seconds. We have more hosts than artists at CIYH, so inquiries never come at an overwhelming pace.

In addition, hosts can also encourage artists inquire for a specific month by noting that in the booking info section.


The booking light change is not a major departure from what we had before. We’ve just clarified what the green and yellow lights stand for: It’s a time reference.

 

Promoting Your House Concerts to People You Don’t Know

At ConcertsInYourHome we advocate for the safest practices, to protect the host and everyone in their home. The safest audience is a small one, exclusively with people you know well. Of course, that often runs contrary to your attendance goals. Below I’ll describe the safest ways we’ve found to grow your audience. Use these strategies to grow your mailing list – one that is full of people you trust to treat your home and your artists with respect.

You should consult with your attorney for legal advice. There is very little case law on house concerts, and zoning, permits and laws vary from city to city. Advice from ConcertsInYourHome is based on 10+ years of experience, to help hosts think about the pitfalls of inviting strangers into your home, and to explore creative solutions for those who want to quickly expand their audience and circle of friends.

Private vs. Public Events

For your safety, do not treat your home like a public venue.

Public venues need:

  • Business insurance
  • Zoning permits
  • Performing rights licenses

As a house concert host, you’ll invite friends, neighbors, co-workers, friends of friends… everyone in your home should be connected to you in some way. You’ll create a mailing list with these people, and expand the list with people you meet in person or online. For every show, you’ll make an RSVP list, which you will keep at the door for when your guests arrive.

The basics of safely growing your house concert mailing list.

Meet people ->  Invite them to join your mailing list

Getting started:

  • Create a mailing list of everyone you know
  • Encourage them to bring friends to your events, and invite these new friends to join your mailing list.
  • Be social in person and online and talk to people about your house concerts, get their email addresses if they’d like an invitation.

Now let’s cover how to safely promote your shows, how that applies to social media, and websites, and how you should limit promotion by your performers.

Facebook

Let’s cover a few principles, as they pertain to Facebook, and you can use the same logic to make your best judgement about other Social Media.

A few principles: Social media can be public OR private, based on the website you use and how you use them. For example:

As of May 2016, you can set your Facebook profile in several ways:

  • Public (anyone off or on Facebook can see it)
  • Friends (only your Facebook friends can see it)
  • Only Me (like a personal scrapbook)
  • Custom

Even individual posts and Facebook events can have their own privacy settings, so it’s a matter of choosing the best option for you. The important thing is to not choose Public when promoting a private event.

Meetup.com and Next Door App.

Whatever social media and apps that you use to grow your network, the same principles apply. It’s important to have a social exchange before inviting new people into your home.

How to have social exchanges before inviting them to a show:

  • Email – not just “here’s the address” but “what do you do?” and “have you been to a house concert before?” and “what are some of your favorite acts?”
  • Facebook friendship: you can learn a lot about someone this way, and maybe even create genuine friendships.
  • Coffee – safe and easy way to go beyond emails
  • Networking group – most social groups you belong to are a good source of people you can introduce to your house concerts.
  • ConcertsInYourHome and LRN – meeting other hosts in your region, and attending concerts at public listening rooms is another great way to meet like-minded people.
  • Introductions by friends – encourage your friends to talk about your concerts.
  • ConcertsInYourHome card – same size as a business card that you carry with you. “I host concerts in my home. If you’d like to be invited to one of my exclusive shows, send me an email at …. “

Performers

Performers by default are public figures, and that makes their websites and email list a public promotion. If your concert is listed on their website, it can be considered a public event. [This is a fact. Authorities have acted on information from artist websites, and most artists are unaware of this – they will list your info on their website unless you tell them not to.]

First, it is very common and tempting for hosts to want to have artists help fill seats. Artists are often happy to help (if they can) by emailing their fans in the area, because that can create a bigger show and earn more money. The challenge is they don’t personally know most people on their list, and inviting unknown fans to your home poses TWO types of risks – 1. making your event public, and 2. having complete strangers in your home.

It’s important to take a sober look at the risks you take when you have any gathering in your home. People can damage items, steal, or even fall and hurt themselves. These problems are rare and could even be trivial. But there is always a chance it could be serious. That’s why we advocate for the safest practices.

Can performers help at all?

Here’s what we recommend:

If the artist wants to list your house concert on their website, tell them to list it like this:

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 10.38.46 AM

Notice that the host’s email address, phone number, or street address are not publicly listed. The reader would have to use the email form on the artist website to ask for an introduction.

Now, the artists can vet (approve) the fan and introduce them to you the host, like this:

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 10.42.56 AM

Of course, the decision to invite Ben is up to you. Friending him on Facebook or exchanging a few emails begins a relationship that takes it beyond “someone who just asked if they could come.” You’ve been introduced (by the band) and you’ve communicated, and you’ve added them to your guest list.

Again, there’s no case law on this, but doesn’t this sound safer than having musicians invite every bar patron they’ve played for?

Keeping Your People

One of the most important things you can do is put on great events. That includes booking great acts, but also adding your personal touch to make people feel welcome and wonderful in your home. Not everyone will come back. Some will be hooked. The majority of people, however, will make their decision to return based on the quality of the experience, and their confidence that they will have a great time – every time.

If you can keep people coming back, and inspire them to invite new friends, you won’t have to work very hard to grow your mailing list.

Setting the Right Expectations with Your Artists

It is important to make sure your act does not have expectations that are hard for you to deliver. If you offer your artists a financial guarantee that you are comfortable with, that can make things less stressful for both of you. But often, hosts set an audience target that is unrealistic and wind up disappointing themselves and the artist. Even if you think you can get 35 people, there’s no reason to make the artist expect that. Understate your numbers so that you can pleasantly surprise the artist. Otherwise you risk letting them down.

Grow Your Mailing List, and Keep Your Events Safe

Public venues are specifically designed and operated to deal with the public, and the responsibilities associated with dealing with strangers. Insurance, trained staff, observance of fire codes, and proper licensing are all required.

Don’t pretend that your home is a proper place for public events. There is no sin in having small events that are a good fit for your home and friends, as long as you are clear with your performers about the opportunity you offer. Through ConcertsInYourHome and beyond, you will find amazing artists who need house concerts to establish or enhance their fanbase in your city or town. If you can work with their schedule, and provide perks like lodging, food, and a respectful audience, you’ll find that many will appreciate your efforts and leave you and your audience delighted.

Listening Room Festival 2016 Recap/Video

Our sixth festival was our biggest ever. With 50+ performances, including 3 showcase nights, dozens of house concerts and office concerts. Our goal with each festival is to attract and inspire new hosts, new fans, and create an amazing experience for our artists. We’re delighted to again accomplish all of these.

In particular, the festival is designed to create a foothold audience for each of the performing acts, so they can return yearly for a profitable and enjoyable tour of Florida. The bonus is that they actually make money and have a great time while planting these seeds.

For our hosts and fans, it’s wonderful to bring everyone together once a year. Many hosts attend to make new friendships as well as hear great music. Join us for LRF17.

http://www.ListeningRoomFestival.com

Artist Applications close May 31.

Video by Donna Green.