find the right host
Hosts don’t have to be major promoters. Look to friends, family, or even consider hosting a show yourself. If you’re out of options for living room concerts, consider small and intimate venues such as coffee shops, dive bars, and listening rooms.
curate the right bill
Connect with local artists who are close to you in market range. This is also known as your concentric circle. It is the range of your influence, distribution, and reach within a context. Your market range holds so many variables, from Instagram followers to Spotify Streams. As a rule of thumb, if you’re just starting you’re not hitting up Beyonce. Find people with a similar range of values (follower count, streams). They are more likely to say yes.
Find two to three local and/or touring acts who are engaging, thrilled to play your houseshow, and can be relied upon to spend as much effort marketing it as you will. Talk about money upfront.
build a simple marketing campaign
Do not sweat this. Keep it simple. At this stage, we’re not building hella complicated, highly targeted facebook ad campaigns that will cost you a couple of hundred dollars. You do, however, need to budget money to make it work. Here’s a quick budget list to give you an idea of how much you might be spending. I’ve emboldened the items that are more urgent.
eventbrite or event page = free or $1/ticket
print media = cost of design + cost prints for 11x17 posters
social media ads = I suggest a budget of $30 total for a 15 day run
digital media = cost of design
photographer = varies (budget $200)
videographer = varies (budget $300 for run of show)
communicate the plan
This is one of the most important parts of pulling it all together.
Communicate with the other artists: advance them all the show details. They need to know load-in. sound check, system riders, and how money will be disbursed at the end of the show.
Communicate with the host: who’s bringing refreshments? Who’s footing the bill for it? How will sound be handled? What time should you arrive?
Communicate with your guests: Have you promoted on social media? Have you sent fliers for the event? If it’s a house show, definitely get consent from your host on whether or not you’d like the address to be in a public place. If not, make sure that all of your confirmed and pending guests know when, where, and what time to arrive.
make it a warm experience
This is where you think about your audience. Get there early to set up the door. Light candles or string up lights for an intimate set up. Make sure there is a cozy seating environment for your guests. Bake cookies or bring pie. Add intimate touches that make the house concert feel warm and inviting to your guests. Bring beer or wine.
These details feel frivolous and unnecessary, but they will go a long way. More than anything else, your guests will leave remembering how they felt and that feeling will stick with them for a while.
Make sure that when you’re setting up your merch table, you’re providing a place to collect emails so that your audience can stay in touch with you in your music releases and travels.
play great music
This is to say the least! House Shows can definitely feel a little more relaxed than playing in a more conventional venue, but please don’t forget to do good work. Share from your heart and be inspiring!