articles and tips from Fran Snyder and concertsinyourhome.com
Top Ten Reasons Why DinnerAndSong is Better than House Concerts
1. DinnerAndSong can be used as teaser show (secret show) to promote an upcoming public concert.
2. It makes it easier to inspire fans to host - it’s simply less work than a house concert.
3. It’s easier to schedule on weeknights to plug gaps in a tour.
4. It’s adaptable to a variety of easy formats - DessertAndSong, BreakfastAndSong, etc.
5. It’s easier to set up - no sound system, no extra chairs, no need to move furniture.
6. It’s super-intimate and memorable - guests really get to know the artist with a face-to-face dinner.
7. It’s easier to promote - the host only needs 4 or 5 couples to attend.
8. It allows more parents to bring well-behaved children due to the shorter format
9. DinnerAndSong makes people more willing to see an unfamiliar genre or unknown artist since the show is only 35 minutes long
10. It has a much faster RSVP process since fewer guests are needed, which makes it easier to create a waiting list to replace last-minute cancellations
Attn Writers: If you’d like to use this as a starting point for an interview, I’d be delighted to help.
DinnerAndSong.com - Mini House Concerts are a Major Development
For decades, music fans and artists have been falling in love with house concerts. It’s hard to find a troubadour these days who hasn’t made house concerts a staple of their touring plans. Why? For artists, there’s a lot to love. House concert hosts provide free room and board, a listening audience, and the collected donations tend to exceed the pay from clubs and coffeehouses. For hosts and fans, each house concert provides a unique opportunity to see and hear the artist up close, and in a more personal light. These events also foster community, generosity, and a greater love of live music.
However, despite the attraction, there are several impediments that often keep a new house concert fan from hosting a show in their home. They might believe;
Thanks to DinnerAndSong, they are probably wrong on all counts.
DinnerAndSong starts with a casual 35-minute meal for your guests and the artist, where they get to know each other in a unique way. You prepare something easy or get takeout. You then take a five-minute break followed by the 35 minute concert. The concert is most likely unplugged, and very little furniture gets moved around - no more than a few dining room chairs pulled to the living room. After the performance, you have 15 minutes of chit chat, CD sales and goodbyes. Then everyone goes home, and the artist and host call it a night if they choose. 6-10 guests. $10-15 donation from guests.
Total time = 90 minutes.
Even small homes have space for 6-10 guests, and most music fans know a handful of couples who would be interested in attending quick and interesting event. The preparation is minimal and you can even enjoy take-out food. DinnerAndSong is essentially a quick dinner party with a very entertaining guest of honor.
If one does the math, it’s easy to see that DinnerAndSong is unlikely to be a big payday for the artist, but compared to what? With the high cost of travel, and lack of promotional support, artists routinely find themselves traveling long distances, through areas where they have few resources. Quite often the challenge, especially on weeknights, is to avoid losing money. DinnerAndSong allows an artist to avoid losing money on hotel and food, with the added bonus of new fans and modest cash.
Now imagine a thousand DinnerAndSong hosts scattered along our highways, providing convenient, safe, and productive rest stops for our most talented touring artists. In just a few months, DinnerAndSong.com has already signed up 150 hosts (it’s free to join), and created two spin-off concepts - DessertAndSong and BreakfastAndSong. DessertAndSong is for hosts who’d like to start a bit later and not worry about everyone having a seat around the table. BreakfastAndSong is perfect for a weekend late morning get-together.
“I’ve always wanted to do concerts in our own home, but having 25+ guests would involve more than my wife and I could comfortably offer in our current home. When DinnerAndSong came along, we reconsidered. Terrific idea, but the dinner element was tricky for our situation. Then my wife said, “well, what if we did a dessert version instead?” Brilliant. And a month later we held our first DessertAndSong event. 19 adults and 5 attentive children joined us. Potluck dessert. Our guests casually grazed around the dessert table. Room preparation consisted of…get this…moving the couch nine inches and throwing pillows on the floor. 20 minutes for dessert, 35 minutes for the concert, 15 minutes to buy CDs. Then it was over. The artist received $245 in donations and CD sales, and had a wonderful time. We moved the couch back, and threw away the paper plates. It was as easy as that. And everyone loved it. We’ll do many more.” — J. Robertson
The focus of all these events is the music. Since they typically happen on a weeknight, the over-riding principle is to keep things quick and easy for everyone involved. Therefore, the food should be simple, like pizza and a salad, with water, soda, or tea for drinks. No guests should be asked to bring something unless they volunteer. Likewise, the concert should be kept to 35 minutes, with maybe a one song encore.
Since programs like DinnerAndSong are new and unique, it’s important for the host to promote the event with some detail, to make sure everyone understands the format. The artist or host would do well to remind the guests about the format before starting the concert portion. Everyone should expect the concert to stop at the scheduled time. The combination of short concert and simple meal makes the evening a nice value.
“We find them [breakfast concerts] to be a great way to wake ourselves and the audience up. After a bit of warming up, the crowd was very lively, and we had fun. It’s a different vibe from an evening concert, but ends up being just as much fun, in our experience.” Rob, of SoulAviv
Most people would be surprised to know how many of our most talented touring acts routinely sleep in the van, or at a rest area, to avoid losing a substantial chunk of their earnings. DinnerAndSong (and other small programs) could create a touring “safety-net” that also rewards the generosity of hosts with memories and new friendships that last a lifetime.
Learn more at DinnerAndSong.com
Fran Snyder is an artist and the founder of ConcertsInYourHome.com, DinnerAndSong.com, and ListeningRoomNetwork.com
Dear Artists Who Love to Play House Concerts,
I’ve recently heard from a few more artists who’ve had great success using the email I shared with you a few months ago. One act alone booked 22 shows after I suggested this approach. Multiply 22 times $400 per concert (average) and that’s a nice payday.
I’m writing an article based on your success stories from using this email technique to inspire fans to host. If yours isn’t listed below, please reply to this email and tell me when you used it and what your results were.
Here is what some of our members have said about the email I’m about to share with you.
Hey Fran, Just wanted to let you know that I followed through with your suggestion and secured seven gigs in about 4 hours. You’re onto something. [Update: Ed wound up booking 22 gigs from the email over the next few weeks.] Cheers, Ed Oproncek
Hi Fran, The email has been working like a charm - thanks for the nudge. I have gotten offers in NJ, MD, GA, Brooklyn, Greensboro, and even a boat on a lake here in NC! Keep the good ideas coming! Jon Shain
Fran! I just used the suggested email you sent with video, etc. to a Facebook fan and they are going to do a house concert for us when we are in their town with another show…good deal! Leslie
and from Juni Fisher
I used one of Fran’s suggested emails, adapting to fit what i do, and sent it to my regional email lists in several states, and voila, over the next couple of weeks after that email, I booked a total of 10 house concerts for the spring and summer, to fill in the gaps in my regular touring schedule. I consider that a GRAND success!
“Five out of 10 shows on my last tour out East were the result of an email I sent to my mailing list about the ‘Dinner and Song’ concept. Some shows were held in churches, some in homes, and most were like full-blown house concerts, however all were fan-created and came about in direct response to the DNS pitch. It helped me put together a great tour at short notice!” -Teresa Storch
There’s still time. Are you ready to try it on your fans?
Here’s the link. http://www.concertsinyourhome.com/blog/archives/1847
So has this email created $100k? My guess is not yet. But soon.