This is a guest post by Fran Snyder. Fran is an artist and the founder of ConcertsInYourHome.com, DinnerAndSong.com, and ListeningRoomNetwork.com - three sites dedicated to the creation and support of "gigs where people listen." Fran has toured more than a million miles, released 7 independent CDs, and continues to tour, record, and speak at conferences.
These are exciting times. Underneath the crumbling architecture of modern touring, artists continue to innovate to get their music heard, and to get their bills paid.
DinnerAndSong is a new house concert format that creates opportunities for easy-to-plan, easy-to-play concerts to fill the most challenging nights on our touring schedules - weeknights.
House concerts aren't new, but they've become critical to the livelihood of the modern troubadour and small touring acts. Usually, it's a pot-luck dinner, 2 sets of music, and a great time for all. The artist gets a meal and a pillow, a captive audience, and $10-20 donation per guest.
The challenge is that 80% of these concerts typically happen on Saturday nights. House concert presenters find it easier to clean up, set up, and get an audience to show up on weekends. Two other factors reinforce the weekend appeal:
1. the format - it's a 2-3 hour event, and
2. the notion that house concerts have to be attended by 20-50 people to be worthwhile.
If you love to play house concerts, what do you do on the other six nights of the week?
Dinner and Song has been a great way to fill in some open weeknights while we’re on tour. We’ve also used them as a “sample” show where we are booked the following year for a full house concert, but the host gets to introduce us to a “core” group for a casual evening, to help build interest for the following season. - Bill & Kate Isles
The DinnerAndSong (DNS) Advantage
- What if a house concert took no more effort than hosting a dinner party?
- What if the format allowed even a small audience to be fun and worthwhile for the artist?
For the DNS host, there's no renting of chairs, setting them up in neat little rows. Usually no sound system, none of the stress of having a big crowd in your home. A couple of pizzas, a salad, and 8-12 guests is all you need. After the 30-minute dinner* with the artist, everyone just gathers around the comfy living room and the performer plays a 40-minute set. The whole event is over in less than 90 minutes.
For artists, it's important to consider what house concerts do, besides allowing an artist to play for an attentive crowd and get paid. Let's also assign a conservative dollar value to these benefits.
- $70 Free place to stay
- $10 Free food
- $20 Intangibles: an easy set, easier set up, new fans/friends, opportunity to create more shows. There are all kinds of benefits to getting to know people in the house concert world. Sometimes, they even take you tanking.
For a touring artist, it's safe to say there's at least $100 in value before you even count donations and merch sales. Now, let's say you have 8 people, at $10 per person, and sell 5 CDs at $10. That's another $130.
So, $230 on a weeknight, in a town where you possibly only had one fan. Not a huge night, but certainly a win if your option was to play a cafe or nothing at all. What if you had an ambitious host who pulled in a few more people?
"We've performed several DinnerAndSong events and have had wonderful experiences at every one. DinnerAndSong turns a casual weeknight get together with friends over food, wine, or dessert into a mid-week mini-concert, providing all the magic and intimacy of a house concert in a condensed format. The DNS concept proves that work nights don't have to be down nights, offering an opportunity to pause, relax, and recharge in the midst of the week day bustle. DinnerAndSong broadens the scope of the house concert movement, expanding the number of evenings we can experience the joy of performing for a listening audience in the intimacy of a home, and it increases the number of moments that we feel a room dissolve into music and wonder." -- Ian McFeron
DNS events can even pay off locally. Again, off-nights strike at home just like they do on the road. Home is where you have the most connections, and the best chance to inspire several fans to have an exclusive event with you. That's right - put a limit on attendees - and sell out every time.
Weekend house concerts can be great, but now we can inspire people to host shows during the week - those nights when touring artists often lose money, playing for half-empty, noisy rooms of distracted patrons? Through ConcertsInYourHome, we've seen hundreds of these events happen, and it's easy to see small events like DinnerAndSong and DessertAndSong adding a hundred thousand dollars of revenue for artists in the next few years.
So how do we inspire people, especially our fans, to host a concert for us on a weeknight?
After creating the DNS format, we created a website to promote the idea. It's a key component of our artist memberships, but you don't have to join anything to use our free promotional tools.
Next time you want to plan a tour, share the DinnerAndSong idea with your fans and friends, and leverage your fan-base to fill the most critical gaps in your schedule. Delight your fans with exclusive, personal events, and stop losing money on weeknights. Many of our artists have pitched the DNS idea when reaching out on Couchsurfing.com, with some nice results.
*some artists prefer to eat after they play, so the format can be switched, or they can just pick lightly during dinner as they chat with the guests.
Build a stunning band website and store in minutes
- Promote your music on your own unique website.
- Sell music & merch directly to your fans. Keep 100%.
- Grow your fan base with built-in marketing tools.
Free 30 day trial, no credit card needed.