The following article is a guest post by Jennine Kristianson, owner of onlySKYartist.com, who was kind enough to reach out to me with her expertise on house concerts, something I learned about in the past and am keen on as a DIY promotion and income method for independent artists. More info on Jennine is in the author bio below.
Let’s be honest. It’s hard to get your fans to host a house concert. (In their defense, it is a lot of work. I know, I’ve hosted them.) But what makes your job even harder are the misconceptions your fans have about house concerts. If you want the gig, you need to educate your fans and give them the facts they need to make a decision. Here are some common objections and how to combat them.
My house is too small.
I hear this one all the time! People think they need a palatial mansion to host a house concert. But they’re missing the point. House concerts are intended to be intimate. And besides, once they move the couch out of the way, most living rooms are plenty large enough. To dispel this myth:
- Share plenty of pictures on your website or Facebook showing the small spaces you’ve played.
- Use words like ‘intimate’ and ‘cozy’ when talking about house concerts.
- Communicate your ideal attendance is only 20-35 people.
- Put your space needs into concrete numbers – “I only need a room 15’ x 20’ to put on a great house concert.”
- Assure them that other fans have hosted a show in smaller spaces.
I can’t afford a house concert.
House concerts are more affordable than people think. By bringing together some friends, your fans could afford the $200 – $1500 most artists are charging. (I’m not an advocate of the free house concert model.) But talking to your fans about money is never a comfortable conversation. Here are some ideas to make the money talk easier:
- Instead of presenting your price as one giant number, break it up into manageable bites. “It’s $600. That’s only $20 each for 30 of your friends.”
- Consider adding a ‘starting at’ price on your website. If you have legitimate reasons to charge more (such as travel) fans will understand. But showing an affordable price on your site will encourage fans to come forward and start a conversation.
- Give them options to lower the cost and create a win-win for both of you. A discount if they provide lodging, or a discount if they help you book a second show while you’re in town, are good incentives and have real value for you.
I can’t get enough people to come.
Your fans are smart enough to know that you’re counting on them to fill the room. They don’t want to disappoint you and therefore, some would rather not try than end up failing. It’s your job to support your host and show them how to be a concert promoter. Some good points to remember:
- Emphasize that not everyone needs to be a fan of your music. That’s actually what you want. You want new fans.
- Point out the size of their network. They know far more people than they realize and by inviting people outside of their closest circle, they can fill the room. Work associates and neighbors are two groups many people exclude from their invitation list.
- Give them the tools they need to promote their show to their friends. Every host should receive an email from you with a promo pack containing videos and PDFs they can use to build excitement among their friends.
- Send them a link to this house concert resource page where they can find ideas to promote their show
Booking house concerts can be a tough sell, but using some of these ideas will increase your odds. No matter what you’ve heard, once you book a house concert your work isn’t over. Having a successful house concert is a partnership between you and your host. Be there to encourage and support them up to, and right through, your show.
About the author – Jennine Kristianson is the owner of Only Sky Artist where she helps independent musicians reach new fans on a limited budget with direct-to-fan marketing. She is also the author of House Concerts: build a fan base one living room at a time and its companion guide for fans The Ultimate Guide to Hosting a House Concert. She can be found at onlySKYartist.com or on Twitter @OnlySkyArtist.