Sometimes going out to see a live act just smacks of effort. Put the kettle on, and invite one into your home.
The idea of in-home concerts is not necessarily a new one. People have been playing music in houses since people have had houses. But the idea of an intimate, at-home experience with a professional touring musician is quite an appealing one — especially when you can easily book one through a dedicated website that will make all the arrangements.
The idea is simple: as a host, you browse through the site looking for someone suitable, have a listen to the mp3s, read the reviews and make your selection. The artist comes to your house, plays a gig and passes the hat around afterwards.
As an artist, you pay US$25 a year to belong to the site, promote yourself as a performer, and get paid a donation of around $10 a head for the gig. Most in-home concerts seem to have between 15 and 30 people at them.
It’s very much centered around singer-songwriters and performers who can play with little or no amplification for around an hour to an hour and a half. Sounds like a great center-piece for an at-home social occasion, and a nice way to have a civilised gig circuit without all the pool-table noise, loud-talking patrons and (in some unreformed parts of the world) smoky environments.
In this video, Fran explains the concept, and makes it all seem rather appealing for all concerned.
I had a flick through the website, and it is, as you might expect, rather focused on an American clientele, which is of course fine and dandy for a large section of the New Music Strategies readership. However, I live in the UK and it seems that performers here are fairly thin on the ground. Hopefully that will change soon, because I have to say, I like the idea of a bunch of friends, a live acoustic musician and not leaving the house.
Three of my favourite things, all rolled into one.
Perhaps best of all, if you are in one of the well-serviced areas, you might be able to score yourself an invitation to a local house concert. Generally they’re invite-only, for fairly obvious reasons, but hosts can allow locals to email them through the site and arrange for an addition to the guest list.
This is one of those unexpected, underground, grass-roots, simple ideas that just use the online space in exactly an appropriate manner. There’s nothing flash and whiz-bang about the site. Just find an artist, or get yourself a gig. Simple as that.
Again, a sponsored post — but as you should be learning by now, what I get paid to write positively about is exactly the stuff I would say positive things about if you asked me over a cup of coffee.
To date, my acceptance rate for these things is 3:1. For every sponsored post, I’ve declined three that I didn’t feel I could honestly say enthusiastic things about. Just so you know.