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

 

 

 

How well do CIYH hosts respond to artist inquiries?

A few years ago we created an internal system so that we could track how well our hosts and artists were communicating. This allowed us to learn

  • which hosts were having trouble keeping up
  • how quickly they respond
  • how favorably they respond

It also allows us to send weekly reminders to hosts about pending inquiries so that artists don’t have to keep asking “did you get my email?”

Here are the all time results over the past few years.

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On average, almost half of our artist inquiries are answered within a week. Also, about one-third of the responses are favorable (yes or maybe). These numbers fluctuate a bit (January/February 2017 was pretty bad for response time) but tend to revert to the numbers shown.

What’s exciting now is that soon we’ll be able to show artists how their efforts compare to other artists on the site. Stay tuned!

 

 

Under Threat – Funding for the Arts

screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-7-37-36-pmTwo pillars of our thoughtful and cultural society are at risk of being privatized or eliminated by the Trump administration.

  • The National Endowment for the Arts
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Hope is not the answer anymore.

Please consider calling your Senator and Representative and ask them to protect federal funding for the arts! Also check out the Indivisible guide, written by former Congressional staffers, which outlines some great practical steps and pointers for directly engaging your representatives effectively!

https://www.indivisibleguide.com/download-the-guide

House Concert Checklist for Hosts

Even the most experienced pilots have a checklist they use to make sure they take all necessary steps for a safe trip. The checklist not only makes clear what needs to be done, but also describes the best order or timing for effectiveness and efficiency. Use this checklist to save yourself time and to help your house concert series take off!

[PS – this is a first draft, to be revised for Fran Snyder’s upcoming book on house concerts. Send suggestions for improvement to fran@listeningroomnetwork.com

House Concert Checklist for Hosts

Booking Details

  • Are there other house concerts or events that compete with your proposed/tentative date? Sports playoffs, music festivals, birthdays, holidays, spring breaks, etc.
  • Format – TenTen, traditional – which is best house concert format for this day of the week, this artist/act, and your schedule?
  • Suggested donation, lodging, meal, guarantee, cancelation – all terms agreed?

Artist/Agent communications

  • Confirmation Email sent? Address, Numbers, Arrival Time Window, Lodging, Pets, etc.
  • Food and Smoking Allergies?
  • Optional Info to Include: 1. Local resources: nearby restaurants, grocery and music stores 2. Regional resources: music venues/contacts that might help them find other concerts.

Invitations

  • Use date and day, choose time to open doors and show time.
  • Food and beverage… basic plan and suggestion for invitees.
  • Webflyer and email look great? Spell check? test send and proofread twice. (resources?)
  • Mailing list updated? (Bounced emails and notes from last time?)

Volunteers and backup plans

  • Do you have at least one volunteer to help with the door, setup, food/beverage, etc, so that you can be a gracious host?
  • Do you have a plan for what to do if the weather goes bad or if you get horrendously ill?

Promoting

  • Update and increase mailing list
  • Schedule invitation emails… 4 weeks, 2 weeks, 1 week.
  • Send confirmation emails with address as guests RSVP.
  • Send 3 day reminder to RSVP list.
  • Waiting list needed?
  • Additional efforts if needed to fill room – charity, VIPs

Setting Up, Day(s) Before

  • Basic cleaning inside and out… think safety and visibility from the road.
  • Print signage (donation, entry, food, etc.)
  • Confirm artist arrival time, dinner plans, sound system, extension cord?

Setting Up, Day of Show

  • Spruce up cleaning if necessary.
  • Donations Jar with Sign
  • Guest List Printed
  • Green room
  • Concert room
  • Merch Table
  • Kitchen/Food area
  • Keep back row handy but not set up (or reserved)

Artist Arrival

  • Where to load in, park, put merch and gear?
  • Where to relax and warm up?
  • Snacks or beverages?
  • Outlets/extension available?
  • Expectations of access – is artist expected to mingle before the show? (some like this, some don’t, timing is also issue)

Guest arrival

  • Volunteer/greeter in place
  • Encourage folks to pick their seats, especially down front.

Show start

  • Give 5-10 minute warning for everyone to use restrooms and find their seats.
  • Take the stage and welcome folks.
  • Make short announcements.
  • Describe format… encourage folks to stay in their seats during the show. Try to wait for a break or the end of the show.
  • Introduce artist. Short, warm, personal.

Break

  • Praise artist, encourage CD/merch purchases.
  • Remind about suggested donations if any were missed.
  • Check restrooms if possible.
  • Give 5 minute warning
  • Announce beginning of next set. Please welcome back…name!

End

  • Rave about show.
  • Encourage CD sales
  • Check for over-drinkers
  • Settle up with artist money… donations on-target?

Follow Up

Thank you email, promo next show.

Again, your feedback is welcome!

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

  • 10:30AM – Office Concert with Mark Croft at the Greenhouse (440 2nd Avenue North, St. Petersburg.)  One-hour concert.
  • 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

  • 10am-1pm  House Concert Workshop and Host Meet and Greet at Staybridge Suites Free to attend if you RSVP here. $5 at the door.
  • Evening – House Concerts (St. Petersburg, Seminole, Tampa, Brandon, Clearwater)

Sunday April 23

  • 10:30am – Brunch for hosts, featured artists, and invited guests.
  • 1pm and 4pm House Concerts
  • 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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Bed and Breakfasts – Dream Locations for House Concerts

There’s a lovely legacy of house concerts that take place at quaint bed and breakfasts and inns. A BNB can often surpass the charm of a typical residence, with built-in amenities like guest rooms, a large kitchens and living area.

In addition to providing entertainment for sleepover guests, a house concert series can be a great local outreach tool to make your community aware of your property. Many people simply don’t know about the great and unique local options for out of town guests. The hotel-on-the-highway is often the default, which is a missed opportunity for the warm and singular experience that a BNB can provide.

So build your local mailing list, and consider putting on a monthly or quarterly house concert at your bed and breakfast. You too can build a legacy of great music and memories, and transform your property into a cultural icon in your community.

Visit www.ConcertsInYourHome.com to sign up as a house concert host, and download our free guide.

Why Host House Concerts?

musicon

Everyone hosts for their own reasons. Chances are you already have enough reason to get started. However, you might be inspired by some of the other ways that hosts benefit from hosting house concerts.

Love of music and artists

Some music fans feel a deep connection to the touring artist. These fans often have a music background, and have profound admiration for people willing to make the sacrifices necessary for a life on the road. Artists delay (or abandon) financial security, dreams of family and a modest home, and the powerful luxury of a stable career routine – weekly outings with friends, dance lessons with your spouse, and more. Yes, there is plenty of magic in return, but the sacrifices are real. For these reasons and more, music fans feel blessed to be able to contribute to a musical dream, and to often see it happen in their home.

Love of community

House concerts are a powerful way to unite friends and build community. They enhance friendships, foster new ones, and create sublime moments that allow us to weave our memories together. House concert hosts often become tastemakers in their community, and even inspire music scenes to develop in their town. Neighbors and friends rediscover their love the arts and start to divorce their televisions a few times per week.

Love of entertaining

Despite the multiplex-sized television screens in people’s homes, very few people actually entertain in their home on a regular basis. It seems like the dinner party is a myth of the wealthy past. House concerts provide an inspiring reason to clean the house and make good use of the sprawling spaces we inhabit. Consider the fact that many apartments today are bigger than the homes of just a few generations ago. Did your grandparents have a guest room? Probably not.

Love of a cause

One of the novel applications of house concerts is to honor and support a cause. Many fundraising events require large teams of volunteers, whereas a monthly house concert series can be organized by one or two people. Furthermore, artists typically have affinity for several causes, and often have a song related to those causes. Imagine a wonderful artist inspiring your audience with a personal story or song that is on-message for your favorite charity.

Being the change you want to see in the world.

One of the best ways for artists to create house concert opportunities where they live is to start their own series. The generous act of shining the light on someone else can be the catalyst for others to start hosting. With a healthy house concert scene, that artist may find their own opportunities to play at someone else’s home.

Building an audience to fulfill your dream of owning a commercial venue.

We’ve seen house concerts graduate to promoting bigger events in their town, and some eventually open their own commercial venue. Starting any new business involves risk, but the entertainment venue is especially risky. Wouldn’t it make sense to build an audience and a great reputation before creating the massive overhead (rent, employees, licenses, etc.) of a commercial venue?

The list of potential reasons to host house concerts could certainly go on, but these are some of the most common ones. Most of us can relate to more than one, and that provides a strong enough “why” to do the work of putting on the first few events. After a few great shows, your own list will certainly grow.

ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and venues

I have hosted many concerts in my home through CIYH, and now own a small cafe in AZ where we host musicians about once a month. These are paid gigs for the musicians, so a different model than what CIYH. I was recently (and rather persistently) contacted by BMI insisting that we pay a BMI licensing fee and I’m wondering if you have any thoughts about this if we are exclusively hosting all original music. Thanks in advance for your insight. D. Atkins

Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) exist in most all developed countries, and the United States is the only country that has three of them – ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. In the UK it’s PRS, in Canada it’s SOCAN, and so on… they each have their own rules for collections and payments, but the underlying purpose is to allow owners and writers of music to be compensated for the use of their music.

In the U.S., licensing via PROs (BMI, ASCAP and SESAC) is a complicated issue. There are a few things at play. Congress has given these organizations a mandate (law) to collect for the PUBLIC performance of music registered by with them. Almost all professional songwriters and publishers register their works so that they can be compensated for the use of their songs and recordings.

1. This applies to playing recorded music in a public setting. The radio/records playing in the customer area of a restaurant, for example, mean that PROs are allowed to license and collect from these venues, even if no live music is played.
2. It also applies to live music in a public setting.

Since most venues have both live and recorded music, the typical license is called a “blanket license” to cover everything, and they usually start around $300 per year, for each PRO. Few venues are pro-active about negotiating the fees and paying, but eventually at least two of the three organizations find them and ask for a license.

The formula’s vary, and are a bit negotiable. Basically, it’s based on square footage and frequency of events, with some other variables. There are also “per use” licenses, for a one-day festival, for example. The responsibility to pay the license is always with the venue, not the performers.

Challenges:

Public venues can’t just claim that only original music is played there. If you have a strict policy of not just “no covers” and no “Happy Birthday”, but also “no co-written songs”, you might be able to convince them not to license you… but you can bet they will test you, and if one of your performers slips up on the wrong night, they’ll likely come after you more strongly the next time. Plus, if you have recorded music playing during non-performance hours, there’s probably even less wiggle room.

Our recommendation:

Negotiate a deal you can afford. If you are not a strong negotiator, have someone experienced (friendly attorney, fellow music professional, etc.) do it for you. As of this writing $300-400 per year (per organization = X3) seems to be the rate for small coffeehouses. No one likes to pay the water bill either, but it is a legitimate business expense, and the water company doesn’t care if your business is making a profit. Neither will the PROs.

House Concerts:

To the extent that they are private events in people’s homes, PROs should have no standing to collect at house concerts. However, some house concerts are very public with their promotion and have no filter or introduction process before issuing invitations to people they don’t know. This opens the door for PROs to claim the events are not private and therefore subject to licenses. We recommend that hosts start small and grow their audience responsibly over time so that they don’t have to do public promotion. Friends, neighbors, and friends of friends are the place to start. In the excerpt below, notice that the “broadcast” of a performance (live or recorded) via the internet can also be a problem for house concerts.

Copyright Law

To perform or display a work “publicly” means—

(1) to perform or display it at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered; or

(2) to transmit or otherwise communicate a performance or display of the work to a place specified by clause (1) or to the public, by means of any device or process, whether the members of the public capable of receiving the performance or display receive it in the same place or in separate places and at the same time or at different times.

— http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html

Notice the bolded text above and compare it to the language on a PRO site. Notice how the PROs omit “and it’s social acquaintances?”

Q: What is a public performance of music and what is the “Performing Right”?

 

A “public performance” of music is defined in the U.S. copyright law to include any music played outside a normal circle of friends and family.

— http://www.bmi.com/licensing/#faqs

Hosts: What is your backup plan?

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The show must go on… so, do you have a back up plan?

You broke your foot. You live alone, and there’s no way you can prep the house and host a show that’s coming up in ten days. What do you do?

One of the most heartbreaking parts of touring is the canceled show. One broken concert date can dramatically change the finances of a tour. Fuel, food, and lodging expenses pressure artists to work every day on the road, and canceled shows often put artists at a loss for the whole trip.

Sometimes it can be challenging for a host to keep their promise of a show. Illness, injury, weather, work emergencies, and death in the family are just some of the events that can put a house concert in jeopardy. Create your backup plan in advance and avoid letting down your artists and audience.

Let’s come up with a backup host and venue.

The easiest way to solve both problems is to turn your house concert series into a partnership, with you as the leader. Some of our most successful house concert series are partnerships of two or three couples, who take turns hosting the group effort in their homes. This is the first and best example of a back-up plan. If something happens to one host, the event is moved, guests are notified, and another couple takes up the responsibility that night.

Another way to enlist a backup host is to have a friend/volunteer to stand in for you at your place. Obviously, they would have to be well-acquainted with your home/space and the responsibilities of hosting – so it’s best to groom your backup host by having them volunteer at your events for a while.

Outside-In or another space.

If you prefer to have your shows outside and uncovered, it is critical to have an indoor option in case of bad weather. If your show is scheduled for the backyard, get a sense of how you could have the show inside – even if it means the audience has to be considerably smaller. If there’s no way to host inside, ask if any of your neighbors or nearby friends would be willing to be the backup venue. Also, is there a local restaurant, club, or cafe that could take on the show you’ve organized?

Backup Lodging – if you’ve offered a guest room to your artist, be sure that your plans include a replacement room if necessary.

Canceling still requires a backup plan.

Granted, there is such a thing as “enough notice” to cancel. But if you find yourself wanting to cancel a show less than 8 weeks ahead of time, it’s almost certain that you will impose a significant loss to your scheduled artist.

It’s also possible your artist could be O.K. with canceling if you are willing to reschedule. Maybe they need rest and could use a night off, or would rather not play a show that is significantly different than they expected.

Call your artist or their agent and have a conversation about the situation, and see if they are OK with your backup plan or if they have another idea or option. You’ll want to confirm the change of plans by email, but it’s easier to be creative and collaborative on the phone.

Some hosts go to extraordinary lengths in the spirit of “the show must go on,” and they get a great sense of pride from honoring their commitment through adversity. We’ve seen hosts follow through when their house flooded, and one stayed committed for a show that was the day before his father’s funeral. Still, some shows get canceled, but there are ways to avoid or minimize some of the pain.

Offering and honoring a financial guarantee

For some hosts a financial guarantee is the simplest and easiest way to minimize the losses to the artist. Many hosts offer a minimum guarantee when they book a concert. That way, the artist can confidently take on the expenses of travel, knowing that no matter the attendance or circumstances, they’ll make enough money to cover their expenses.

The opportunity here is to decide on a guarantee in case of cancelation. For example, if the guarantee for the show is $500, you would offer $250 if the show is canceled less than 8 weeks out. Few artists take the time to ask for this, it’s a great sign of respect for a host to offer a cancelation fee, even if it’s only $50-100. This small token along with a rescheduled concert date can make a big difference.

TenTen Concert format makes it easier to recruit help.

Finally, it’s important to remind ourselves that house concerts don’t have to be big to be fruitful. Even someone with a small home can become a host, if they can get 10 or more people to attend on weeknights. Read about TenTen Concerts.

Your backup plan is an opportunity to get new friends involved with music, and possibly make them fall in love with house concerts too. Don’t shy away from the opportunity to improve people’s lives. Give them the opportunity to volunteer – as a partner host or a backup volunteer!

A backup plan can help secure your legacy as a great house concert host. Sit down and brainstorm ways you can prevent unexpected problems. Hopefully you’ll never need it. But the benefits of creating partners and volunteers will make your concerts more enjoyable, and the peace of mind your plan offers will make the effort worthwhile.

Download our free house concert guide at ConcertsInYourHome.com.

What if your artist cancels the show?