Book your Season – How to easily handle artist inquiries!

An idea for House Concert Hosts and Listening Rooms

One of the challenges of booking talent is staying on top of artist inquiries. If you are open to inquiries all year long, it can create periods of frustration when you feel you don’t have time to give artists a good listen. On the other hand, closing off your booking channel (red booking light) can make you feel like you might miss out on a great opportunity.

One great solution is to book a season at a time. That can be once, twice, or up to 4 times per year, depending on how many shows you do. Here’s an example to illustrate.

Booking Quarterly Seasons – Once per quarter, we listen to all our inquiries and choose the next 2-3 shows, 6 months out or more.

  • In January, we book July, August, and September shows.
  • In April, we book October, November and December shows.
  • etc.

Of course, you can adapt this to your preferences. Maybe you prefer to book 8+ months out. Maybe you prefer to book 4 months at a time, like this:

Booking Three Times per Year

  • In January, we book September, October, November, (December optional)
  • In May, we book January, February, March, April of next year.
  • In September, we book May, June, July (August optional!)

Some hosts and venues like to book their entire year in one shot.

What are the benefits?

  1. You can let artists know AHEAD of time that you won’t be responding until your next booking window, so you don’t have the constant pressure to answer inquiries as they come in.
  2. You can compare and listen to a full menu of options, and feel great about choosing your best options for the season ahead. You can get a real sense of which artists you want to keep in touch with, say, if dates don’t line up this time.
  3. You have flexibility. If your dream act reaches out for a show outside of your current booking window… book her! If there’s so much talent that you want to book an extra show, do it! List the show, and artists will see the dates/months that are no longer available.
  4. Promotion becomes easier and more effective when you can promote a whole season as well as individual shows.  LRN webflyers contain links to your next 6 upcoming concerts.

Will this work for all hosts and venues? Of course not. But if a booking schedule or season appeals to you… try it!

How to adjust your profile at LRN for seasonal booking.

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  • Put up a yellow booking light.
  • At the top of your booking info, describe your basic process in as few words as possible. “We book seasonally! In January, we will decide on our bookings for July, August and September.
  • Choose the first month (July) of your booking window as your Target Month.
  • Then follow your plan!

Booking seasonally? If you’d like to suspend the weekly reminders for pending inquiries, just let us know.

If enough of our hosts/venues adopt this type of plan, we can update the site to make it even easier. Thank you!

Visit http://www.ListeningRoomNetwork.com to join as a house concert host or listening room venue.

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Restaurants as Listening Rooms – have you seen it work?

Your thoughts about restaurants as listening rooms… have you seen any that work? Here’s my response to a restaurant wanting to join LRN.

Dear Paul,

Nice to hear from you. Can you tell me more about the venue? Restaurants are rarely a good fit for our network, but we have seen some exceptions.

One of the core values of our site is putting talented artists in front of a listening audience that is primarily there for the music. We emphasize a concert atmosphere and always try to avoid situations where our artists might become background music.

In most restaurants, the food is the main event, and artists are expected to play quietly so people can order, patrons and staff are constantly walking in between the artist and the audience, and many people choose to watch televisions or carry on conversations during the show. This is not a suitable environment for artists who expect an attentive audience.

Another core value is that we want artists to earn a living wage. For a touring artist, that would be a minimum of $250, and most of our venues exceed that standard. A lot of our venues also offer room and board for traveling artists.

If that makes sense to you, and feel you can meet the standards of what we call a “listening room,” then we’d be glad to support your restaurant, and connect you with our diverse and talented roster of touring artists. You can just go to Listening Room Network and join as a venue.

Fran Snyder,

founder, Listening Room Network

Next Desired Booking Month

Clear targets create more successes.

Hosts and venues at LRN have the opportunity to list their next desired booking month. The wording is tricky here, because we’re talking about the month that the show would take place, not the month that inquiries should be sent.

Some hosts might have a booking range of more than one month. Since only one month can be selected, the “target month” should be the first month of that range. You still have plenty of room for detail in the booking info window, where you can describe that you have several months available, etc.

For example, if you are booking to fill dates in March April and May, you can say exactly that in your booking info, and select “March” as your target date until that show is filled.
The target date is not meant to exclude all other possibilities, it’s simply the best and soonest target.

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Listening Rooms Reveal the True Fans

by Fran Snyder

Music is fantastic at supporting other activities. Put on your headphones and go jogging. Turn on the car stereo and drive across town. Watch a movie and feel how the music score transforms the experience.

But in each of those cases, music is not the primary goal. We use music to enhance other activities.

Let me take you back in time.

When I was a kid in the 1970’s, buying an album was part of a ritual centered around listening to music. I would run home, close my door, tear off the shrink wrap, and carefully place my new treasure on the turntable. A satisfying record would get 3-5 plays all the way through. The album would consume most of my day.

It kept me in my room. If I started looking at baseball cards or hanging up my clothes, these were secondary activities to consume my adolescent energy. I didn’t play the record to help me clean my room. I hung my shirts up because I was stuck in my room – the only place my record was playing.

runhome

So when you listen to music, is it the primary activity, or the background to something else?

No one can avoid “secondary listening” in the modern world. Even if your car stereo is off, chances are you’ll hear someone else’s every time you stop at a traffic signal. Music is piped into our ears at the bank, at the grocery store, and through the ever-present din of televisions that hang from every vertical surface of society.

So the better question is, “do you ever choose music as your primary activity?” Of course, musicians do this all the time. But who else?

Concerts are a classic opportunity for us to make music our primary activity. If we can watch the musicians, and focus on the connection with the songs, then it’s clear why we are there – for the music.

Yet, it’s all too common to go to concerts to find ourselves surrounded by people who are distracted and or distracting. Maybe they don’t like the band. Maybe they are there to be with their friend. Or maybe, they’ve lost all ability to focus on anything that doesn’t glow in the palm of their hand.

But if you interrupt their conversation, and ask them, “are you a music fan?” they will finish their selfie and tell you “absolutely, yes!”

fan

What is a music fan?

I would argue that a music fan pays for music with their attention as well as their money.

A lot of people who think they are music fans are really “going out” fans. For them, music is meant to support what they really want. They want to dance, they want to feed off the kinetic energy created by the band onstage. If the music doesn’t fit what they really want to do (talk, dance, eat) there’s a good chance they won’t stick around.

If only that was always the case. Unfortunately, many of them do stick around. If the music is too loud, they’ll just talk louder. They won’t even notice that their behavior is ruining the experience for you.

Fortunately, there are a growing number of places where true music fans can go. These listening rooms can be dedicated clubs, theaters, and even the living rooms of other music fans. There is a growing worldwide community of people who (sometimes!) choose to be in a place where music is the main event. Listening rooms and house concerts provide that atmosphere, and the opportunity to get up close and personal with the finest independent touring artists today.

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And here’s the best news. You don’t have to be a music fan all the time. Dance your heart out at a party. Work that hula hoop at the festival. Music can be a wonderful background, and there are millions of places where you can talk over the music.

Just not in my listening room.

Fran Snyder is an artist, house concert host, and the founder of ListeningRoomNetwork.com

 

Listening Room Festival 2019 Lineup Announced!

Last night, 60 music fans from the Tampa Bay area gathered at the Hideaway Cafe (St. Petersburg FL) to get the first glimpse of the #LRFest lineup for 2019. Twenty of them booked a house concert for the festival!

Our goal is to book the remaining 10 concerts over the next few months for a total of 30 concerts during our festival week.

We’re excited that more music fans make a music vacation out of our festival each year. Hosts from Canada, France, and all around the U.S. come to St. Petersburg FL to meet their tribe and experience an amazing week (or long weekend) of intimate and remarkable performances.

We’ll update the Listening Room Festival site with more info soon.

Here is the lineup for 2019!

Please register at http://www.ListeningRoomFestival.com for more information, including hotel deals and more about the expanding festival schedule!

Thanking/Surveying Your Audience – Emails After the Show

Follow Up Email

Important cultural events deserve a recap! Your guests also deserve a thank you and maybe even a preview of the next show. Don’t miss the opportunity to remind your friends what a great experience they had, and to make them look forward to the next one.

You might include:

  • a picture or link to pictures
  • story or compliment from the artist
  • items left behind (clothing, dishware, etc.)
  • details of your next show!

You can also ask for feedback.  Ask them:

  • if they took any great pics they want to share
  • what was their favorite aspect of the concert
  • what would they suggest to improve your events

Make your attendees feel like they are part of your series. They will return more often and bring friends.

Here are some excerpts and examples from our hosting community!

Dear Friends and Family,

Thank you so much for attending Nathan’s concert last evening! It was a memorable event! I am looking forward to greeting you in my home for JT’s concert and to my concerts in the future! I am proud of all of us for showing our support for independent music! 🎶

Next show is April 12th! [webflyer link]

Warm regards, Judy

—–

What a show!

Thanks for joining us for another special  concert. Here’s a [link] to view our pics or share one of your favorites from the show. Be sure to RSVP soon for our jazz concert – we only do jazz once per year and it’s always well attended. [Link]

 

Surveying Your Audience

Some hosts in our network send out an easy survey after each show to gather feedback from their audience. If you act on the best suggestions, it’s a great way to improve your series over time. Also, your audience will help you fine-tune your desire to invite performers to play again the following year… did they love the show as much as you did? A survey is a great way to find out.

There are great apps like SurveyMonkey to help you put together effective email surveys. Also you can create something decent (and free) with Google Docs, and many email services (Constant Contact, etc.) also have survey options that merge easily with your list of contacts.

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Remember that clear, short, easy emails are effective and rarely frustrating to receive. Show genuine interest in your audience and you’ll find that many of them love to share their opinions.

And you, keep on sharing that music!