You probably already know this if you are a DIY musician, but in case you didn’t…house concerts are a thing. A big thing. In fact, house concerts may just be the saving grace of the independent music scene because like the Internet, they give relatively unknown artists a chance to connect directly with their fans across the country without the expectation of having to fill a venue.
Why are house concerts so potentially important for indie musicians? Here are a few good reasons:
- They are fairly easy to book. All you need is a fan or a family with a living room willing to open it up for a private performance.
- House concerts have a lot of appeal for the indie music fan because they’re just about as grassroots as you can get. (It’s pretty chic to go to a “house concert” these days.)
- You get to keep all the money from it (typically a suggested donation between $5 and $20 a head), instead of splitting it with a venue, or trusting the venue to stay honest.
- Depending on your trust level with the host family, a house concert date also includes a free meal and a place to sleep.
- It gives you a great way to build a tribe of loyal fans that you wouldn’t reach otherwise—people who will buy your records, come back to your shows, and maybe even host a house show of their own.
Suffice it to say that if you’re an unknown indie musician and you’re not including house concerts in your travel itinerary, you may be robbing yourself of some much needed sustenance. If you are interested in pursuing this avenue but don’t know where to start, you can start (big surprise) on the Internet. Here are a few websites you can check out that are listing house concerts, listings and host homes, giving indie artists the chance to connect with this scene, book and promote their shows.
Also, if you are interested in connecting to a specific city or town, try doing a Google search for [name of city] house concerts. There are a lot of house concert websites that operate and connect fans just on the local level, and you may be able to make more connections that way.
Finally, this article from The DIY Musician offers some practical helpful advice on breaking into the house concert circuit. Good luck!