Join the House Concert Movement

By Matt Lombardi

“House Concert” is a new buzzword in Independent Music. The concept is simple; fans open up their homes for private performances by their favorite musicians. While salon shows have taken place for centuries, Independent musicians are now viewing House Concerts as a viable revenue stream. Thousands are taking place each year. Even the big industry conferences like SXSW and The Independent Music Conference are now featuring panels on the importance of House Concerts.

The House Concert movement has also expanded to include all genres. It’s no longer just a singer / songwriter game. Musicians, bands, and collectives of all sizes are jumping on the House Concert train.

Why are musicians seeking out House Concert gigs?

1. A new experience. House Concerts provide a unique live music experience where the fans are focused on the music. Musicians love playing for a captive audience ready to appreciate new music. It’s a great setting to try out new material, too.

2. Increased fan engagement. House shows are an easy way to get access to new fans. Interacting with the crowd at these smaller shows also creates a stronger connection between musician and fan. The personal connection usually leads to loyal, die-hard fans.

3. More revenue. It’s important for independent artists to diversify their revenue streams in order to make a living. House Concerts are a great way to fill unbooked dates while on a tour or at home. Musicians also report that they sell between 2 and 3 times more merchandise at House Concerts than at traditional venues.

4. Defrayed expenses. Trekking around the country can be a budgetary nightmare for any band large or small. Musicians who supplement their tour with house shows are able to defray travel expenses. Food, drink, and sometimes lodging are included in a house concert package.

5. Consistent pay. Most traditional venues will give you a cut on the door, or if you’re lucky a percentage of the bar sales. There’s no guarantee you’ll walk away with more than pocket change. At House Concerts, there’s usually a flat fee and priority is placed on making sure the musician or band is taken care of.

Tips for securing House Concert gigs:

1. Every few months send out an email to your list announcing open dates for House Concerts. If you’re going on tour, list the dates that you’ll be in each city. Think about including a video clip from a prior House Concert.  Most people don’t know that House Concerts are even possible. Show your fans how much fun these events can be.

2. Call or send a personalized email to a few of your “super fans.” Mention that you’re looking to do more House Concerts and that you’d love to do a private concert in their home, backyard, or living room.

3. Book yourself for a House Concert at your place or a friend’s place. Invite your fans. Chances are your friends will bring folks you’ve never met and viola! New fans! And new House Concert evangelists! Make sure to put out an email list at the event.

4. Post on Facebook and twitter that you’re looking for house show opportunities, and don’t be bashful to post more than once: studies show that folks only see ~10 percent of what you post. Tools like GetBooked will let your fans book you and crowd-fund the event right through your Facebook page.

5. Word of Mouth is key. After you’ve played one or two shows, and put it out there that you’re interested in playing more, people will invite you to play. You just have to show them that House Concerts are one of the best ways to enjoy music.

Matt Lombardi is the co-founder of Hear It Local, an online booking platform for live, independent music. Hear It Local’s Facebook app, GetBooked, helps musicians secure house concerts. Matt also serves on the board of Party Corps, a non-profit that supports charitable causes through live music events.


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