House Concerts and 21st Century Touring

Bghome2In response to my last post, Fran Snyder, a singer-songwriter based in Lawrence, KS, sent me a link to his website which is a resource for musicians and house concert hosts alike.

He also has a blog, house concerts and 21st century touring where he discusses the growing "house concert" movement  which creates meaningful and
financially rewarding opportunities for artists and which brings
neighborhoods and music lovers together in a common cause.

The music industry is changing and the old business models need to be re-examined if musicians are to thrive in a world where labels no longer control distribution and the economics of playing noisy clubs for tips is increasingly less rewarding.

Perhaps musicians can take a lesson from writers who have turned to self publishing in order to reach audiences and have successfully bypassed the traditional publishing industry and its insider network. Very few get rich, but most of the writers I know who have done this have managed to sell books and generate some income.

More and more musicians seem to be self publishing also, but what if they really got behind a grassroots effort to augment their income with performances in house concert venues?

One musician friend feels that playing for tips is demeaning for a professional musician. How about working for donations?  Working for a living always involves having to make choices and being able to draw an audience.

Providing background music in a club means that you are always interrupting someone’s conversation. If you are good enough to command the attention of the crowd and willing to overlook the screamers in the front table, you may pull in enough tips and applause to make the day worth while.

How about setting up a few house concerts with congenial hosts?  Donations are understood to be the price of entry and you get an attentive audience. Your only problem as an entertainer is drawing a crowd through reputation and promotional activity.

I would be interested in hearing if there is a down side to house concerts from the musician’s standpoint.

Let’s have some discussion on the 21st Century touring model.

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