TenTen Concerts – House Concerts Made Easy

TenTen Concerts
House concerts made easy: ten songs, for ten+ guests

[This is an excerpt from Fran Snyder’s forthcoming book, House Concerts and Modern Touring for Small Acts. Snyder is the founder of ConcertsInYourHome.com, which is the most active house concert community on the planet. Stats and opinions in this piece come from 8 years of watching and helping thousands of house concerts take place.]

Video version here.


You are the new music industry.

You’ve undoubtedly heard of house concerts, and how music fans are putting on living room shows with amazingly talented artists. These shows bring neighbors, co-workers, and friends together, and deepen the roots of communities. Plus, they can be a lot of fun!

The easiest and best way for new hosts to get started is with a house concert format we call TenTen. Ten Songs for Ten+ Guests.

TenTen Concerts are exclusive shows designed to achieve some wonderful stuff:

  • Get enough committed attendees by sending just one email.
  • Host a show with a minimum of effort and maximum fun.
  • Create a show on musician’s off-nights, and help them start an audience in a new town.
  • Give your friends a remarkably intimate concert experience – every seat is like a backstage pass.

New hosts are often stunned at the quality of talent that is available for these small shows. Touring artists spend a lot of time and money to develop an audience in a new town. Publicity, travel, hotel, flyers, ads, soundperson/system, and food make it incredibly difficult to tour sustainably when playing clubs and traditional venues that also take a big percentage of the revenue. House concert hosts take away all these expenses except the travel. Hosts are the heroes of the new music business.

The easy TenTen Concert format is designed for weeknights. Touring artists have to make more money on weekends (especially Saturday nights) so we encourage bigger events on those nights. But even if you’d like to host larger shows, the TenTen format allows you to build up to that gradually by hosting a succession of smaller shows to hook a few new friends each time.

Small Starts Can Have Big Endings

Here are a few things that can happen:

  • You might get excessive RSVPs and decide to do something bigger, like 20 or more. You still have that option!*
  • Some attendees may ask you to help them book a TenTen at their place because they saw how easy and cool it can be to do a small concert.
  • Some attendees may want to team up with you to host a bigger show next time.

*The key here is that you set an achievable goal for yourself, and set reasonable expectations for the artist. What you don’t want to do is tell an artist you can get 20 guests and only have 10 show up. We’ve seen this happen too many times.

The Numbers Fine-Tuned

“Ten Guests” is the target as well as a minimum expectation. We don’t count the host as part of the number of guests, so we’re really shooting for a minimum of  11-14 people depending on your household.

TenTen hosts understand there is a $100 guarantee (Ten Guests X $10), so they know that no-shows will cost them money. We don’t want to ask any professional artist to play for less than $100. That means you need to be diligent about collecting RSVPs, promoting early, creating a waiting list, and sending a reminder message two days before the show. CD and merch sales do not count towards the $100. Ideally, an artist will make $150-$250 from a TenTen Concert.

Since the successful host (with ten+ paying guests) is not expected to pay, anyone can afford to host a show. Some hosts like to buy a couple of pizzas and make a salad, but that’s totally optional. The point is to make it quick and easy for people to attend after work.

Another powerful aspect of having a finite guest list (e.g. ten people), is that it makes the event exclusive. For a host that wants to do these on a regular basis, they should invite enough people so that they are turning away at least as many as they are accepting. The only way to train people to RSVP and to commit to attending events is to turn them away when they don’t. If people don’t get turned away once in a while, they take the concerts for granted.

TenTen concerts are an opportunity for artists to fill off nights. One great way to find artists who are looking for shows in your area is the avails pages at ListeningRoomNetwork.com http://www.concertsinyourhome.com/avails.html. These pages are organized by regions (states, provinces, countries) and provide listings of artists and the most critical gaps in their touring schedules. Check out some music, and reach out to the acts that inspire you!

In music today, the power is in your hands. You get to decide which artists get a boost on their tours, and which artists get promoted to your friends. Best of all, you don’t need to be rich to have a significant impact on the artists you love.

TenTen Concerts are one of several one-set formats promoted at ConcertsInYourHome.com

Fran Snyder is an artist and the founder of ConcertsInYourHome.com. In addition to these two roles, he’s also hosted many shows and written more on the subject of house concerts than anyone. Snyder is committed to solving the “touring problem,”  and has been featured in American Way Magazine, Billboard, and the New York Times. He continues to innovate different ways that artists can package their live show. Thanks to his work, many artists thrive on small successes, instead of starving until the big one. Read more at http://www.fransnyder.com.

TenTen Concerts Launch

Notes about TenTen Concerts and our Launch in October.
this will be updated as we go…

TenTen Concerts are intended for weeknights because they are small and easy.

TenTenLaunchShirt

Hosts guarantee a minimum of $100 in donations to the artist (10 X $10) plus whatever they sell in merch. If you only have 8 attendees, you make up the $20 difference… but that won't happen because of your waiting list! 8^)

Winning your prize(s)
1. You must list a show with a current CIYH artist. The show must take place during the month of October.
2. You must take at least a few pictures and send them to Fran by November 25, 2014. (updated)
3. The first twenty hosts to list their events will be on the limited edition T-Shirt. List it just like any other show at CIYH, EXCEPT you'll need to choose TenTen as the format type.
4. Send a confirmation email to Jeff once you've listed the show.

Grand Prize:
Want to come to Florida in April for the Listening Room Festival? It's one of the coolest things we do and we love seeing hosts from around the world attend the events.

We'll have a place for you to upload your pictures, and by November 30th we'll choose one winner for the best TenTen picture. That winner will get up to $300 toward a round trip ticket to Tampa/St. Petersburg for the festival. Second and third place pictures will win $50 each.
(If Grand Prize Winner cannot attend the festival, he/she may trade prize with second place winner.)

 

 

Notes about TenTen Concerts and our Launch in October.
this will be updated as we go…

TenTen Concerts are intended for weeknights because they are small and easy.

Hosts guarantee a minimum of $100 in donations to the artist (10 X $10) plus whatever they sell in merch. If you only have 8 attendees, you make up the $20 difference… but that won't happen because of your waiting list! 8^)

Winning your prize(s).
1. You must list a show with a current CIYH artist. The show must take place during the month of October.
2. You must take at least a few pictures and send them to Fran by November 5, 2014.
3. The first twenty hosts to list their events will be on the limited edition T-Shirt. List it just like any other show at CIYH, EXCEPT you'll need to choose TenTen as the format type.
4. Send a confirmation email to Jeff once you've listed the show.

Grand Prize:

Want to come to Florida in April for the Listening Room Festival? It's one of the coolest things we do and we love seeing hosts from around the world attend the events.

We'll have a place for you to upload your pictures, and by November 15th we'll choose one winner for the best TenTen picture. That winner will get up to $300 toward a round trip ticket to Tampa/St. Petersburg for the festival. Second and third place pictures will win $50 each.
(If Grand Prize Winner cannot attend the festival, he/she may trade prize with second place winner.)

DinnerAndSong – Having it Your Way

Explore the different versions of DinnerAndSong – mini house concerts for traveling artists.

 

DinnerAndSong – Having it Your Way

by Jeff Robertson

It hasn’t taken long, but there’s already more than one type of DinnerAndSong event. And these variations are exciting.  They offer options.  So let’s drill down on this.
 
At the core of a mini-concert are two elements that you can’t do without:

  • the music
  • the meet-and-greet afterwards

 
The music is usually an unplugged 35-minute concert, an extraordinary personal experience for the guests and artist alike.
 
The meet-and-greet is 15 minutes of connecting and selling signed CDs.  Warm, efficient, opening doors for follow-up interaction.
 
So there’s your core.  50 minutes.
 
What happens before the music is what creates those cool options, and it’s what governs the feel and the length of your mini-concert.  Here are a couple of options:

  1. dinner & song – our flagship event.  Add 40 minutes before the music for a casual meal for 6-10 guests and the artist.  Sweet.  Guests get to know the artist in a unique way.  $10 donation.  Total time = 90 minutes.
  2. dessert & song – shorter, and much sweeter. Sugar everywhere. Add just 25 minutes to the front end for grazing from the dessert table.  6-20 guests.  Afternoon or after dinner.  $10 donation.  Total time = 75 minutes.

 
Ah, are the lightbulbs going off in your head now?  Uh huh.
 
So, how would you rank these options as far as their appeal for your situation? Have another variation in mind?  Leave a comment!
 
Next blog:  Minimize your concert prep.  Stay tuned!

 

 

House Concerts are for Lovers… courtesy of Russ and Julie

awkward, funny exchange from someone wanting to avoid their ex at a house concert.

Dear Russ & Julie,

I am looking forward to seeing you at the House Concert this Saturday.  Can you please do me a small favor and make sure Jane Doe isn't on your RSVP list. She and I ended our relationship in the not too distant past and I don't wish to run into her.  Thank you for helping to preserve my sanity!

Bob

– – – – –

Dear Bob,

Actually we DO have Jane Doe down for 2 people on the RSVP list.

You RSVP'd first, but she RSVP'd some time ago.

Russ & Julie

– – – – –

Dear Russ & Julie

I don't want to put you guys in the midst of any drama, but can you tell me when she RSVP'd?

Also, go ahead and cancel my RSVP so someone else can see the show.

Funny thing is I'm now dating someone you know who I met at a Russ & Julie's House Concert!!  (We're calling it the Musical eHarmony!)

Thank you,

Bob

– – – – –

Dear Bob,

The answer to your question is that she RSVP'd on Christmas Day.

Sorry that you have to cancel.  We will open up your 2 spots to people on our Waiting List.

So glad we were able to help you find someone here at Musical eHarmony…. we aim to please! 😉

We hope to see you again soon.

All the best,

Russ & Julie

Upper Midwest Selected as Touring Region for Video Contest Winner

Toronto's Suzie Vinnick, the 2010 CIYH video contest's top vote getter, received a 10-gig tour during May 2011 as the grand prize.  CIYH is excited to announce that the US upper midwest was just selected as the tour region.

Suzievinnick_1 Suzie will start out in northwest Ohio and loop counterclockwise including stops in Chicago, Omaha, Kansas, Oklahoma, St. Louis and back through cities in the Great Lakes region before returning home to the province of Ontario.  A very busy 13-day swing!
 
About half of the tour stops are confirmed, which still leaves many opportunities available to be among the dozen hosts who will participate in this special opportunity to host a top-tier artist.
 
Maybe one of these is perfect for you or a friend you know who lives there.  See if you can help us complete this great tour. ("area" means within 90 minutes, green dates are still available.)
 

  •    Friday, May 20 – Montpelier OH, host confirmed
  •    Saturday, May 21 – Chicago IL area
  •    Sunday, May 22 – Chicago IL area
  •    Monday, May 23 – Iowa City IA, confirmed
  •    Tuesday, May 24 – Des Moines IA area
  •    Wednesday, May 25 – Des Moines IA or Omaha NE areas
  •    Thursday, May 26 – Omaha NE or Kansas City MO areas
  •    Friday, May 27 – Kansas City MO area, confirmed
  •    Saturday, May 28 – Tulsa OK, confirmed
  •    Sunday, May 29 – Kansas OK, confirmed
  •    Monday, May 30 – St. Louis, confirmed
  •    Tuesday, May 31 – Indianapolis IN or Chicago IL areas
  •    Wednesday, June 1 – Cleveland/Akron OH or Detroit MI areas

 
We'll welcome host requests to sponsor full house concerts on any of the above days.  DinnerAndSong (DNS) events are also fine for weekdays.
 
Interested?  Contact Jeff at jeff @ ListeningRoomNetwork.com by Sunday, January 9, for details.

House Concert Tour Contest: And the winners are…

 

We're thrilled to announce the final results of the 2nd Annual 2010 CIYH Video/Tour Contest. This year's winner, from Etobicoke Ontario, is Suzie Vinnick !!
In a virtual tie for second place are the duo Barnaby Bright (Brooklyn NY) and the trio Big Wide Grin (Mill Valley CA). Photos above are linked to their CIYH profiles.

The final round highlights:

45 CIYH hosts viewed all 30 song submissions from our 10 finalists for the final round of judging. The results were very close. All contestants garnered praise from many judges for their songs.

As our contest winners, Suzie, Becky & Nathan (Barnaby Bright) and Elaine, Lawrence & Karl (Big Wide Grin) will receive 5 and 10 gig circuits in the U.S. or Canada during May 2011. Circuit locations will be selected by January 31. (See full list of prizes below.)

Want to host the winners?

We've set up this nice page, where you can

  • see 4 videos from each act
  • see a map of hosts who are already interested
  • and you can email jeff to add yourself as an interested host for a show in May.

Visit the link and hear these wonderful artists, then let Jeff know where you are!

Thank you

to all of our artist entrants who collectively brought 220 videos to the first round of judging. Similarly, we thank each of the 80 judges who worked with us over the course of the contest, tirelessly and (based on their gushing comments) quite enjoyably.
 
The judges saw remarkable new talent well beyond the finalists, and some have said they look forward to booking these artists in the future. Of course, we'd love to know when that happens.
 
Thanks to each of you–artists and judges–for making the 2nd annual contest a great success. 
 
Jeff and Fran

Tours and Prizes

 

  • Grand Prize: Suzie Vinnick
    Ten-day regional house concert tour
    $500 in merchandise from D'Addario & Planet Waves
    PLS Lighting System from Q-Lighting ($350 value)
    $100 cash.
  • Second place: Barnaby Bright
    Five-day tour
    $250 in merchandise from D'Addario & Planet Waves
    Maestro from Q-Lighting ($40 value)
    $100 cash.
  • Third place: Big Wide Grin
    Five-day tour
    $250 in merchandise from D'Addario & Planet Waves
    Maestro from Q-Lighting ($40 value)
    $100 cash.

See additional contest details.

See the finalist videos and mp3s.

Thanks to our kind sponsors, D'Addario, Planet Waves, and Q-Lighting. Check out the special offer from Q-Lighting in our latest newsletter. Offer ends November 30th, 2010.