A Different Model For Touring: House Concerts
from the watch-the-innovation dept
For example, plenty of folks have pointed to the success Jonathan Coulton has had with touring, by using services like Eventful to guarantee a large enough crowd at a certain location and showing up for a "strategic" concert in a place where he's guaranteed to make some money out of it. But some are taking it even further. We've certainly talked about backyard/house concerts before (in fact, we've been suggesting them for about six years), and we've seen Jill Sobule use them as part of her model to fund her latest album. She ended up doing five or six of them, and said they were lots of fun (and she's still open to doing some more).
However, I recently came across a story from a band who basically did an an entire tour based on (mostly) house concerts. The story is from February, but I just found out about it, seeing it mentioned in the comments on a post from Andrew Dubber about how he wants to attempt house consulting for bands (an interesting idea in itself).
The story of the house concerts tour is really fascinating, though, in a variety of ways. Basically, the band -- based in the UK -- were able to book a bunch of gigs all at people's homes around the US. They did most of the booking via Twitter, from people who followed them, noting how much more efficient this was than the traditional system of begging different venues to put on a show:
Method for our tour: "talk to lots of people on twitter >> make friends >> allow them to discover music as they get interested in who we are >> tell them we're touring >> invite them to host gig >> Book in the dates" - the audience is a shoe-in, cos most people can fairly easily find 15-30 friends who are up for a crazy night of music making in a house. It's a nuts idea, it's fun, and it has the added benefit of being validated by a friend of their's... if Tracy/Linda/Angela/Steve/Gus etc are willing to book this, it MUST be good. The person who books the show then emails the links to what we do around (no need to send out CDs) so people have an idea what to expect. Everyone comes to the gig, eats, listens, buys CDs, and we go home with money and loads of new friends. Win-Win.Other benefits were that the gigs were tons of fun and the band saved on hotels since they usually were able to crash at the house that put on the house concert. They note how many amazing people they met, and how much of a connection they made with folks by playing in such an intimate setting. Also, an advantage of such house concerts is that it was a great way to expand their audience and fanbase, since the "host" basically would go out and recruit a bunch of friends -- most of whom knew nothing about the band before seeing them play.
Perhaps most interesting of all: the band made more money on this tour than they did in the past touring clubs. They noted that the "risk" and costs are much lower. While they say they aren't getting rich this way, they are earning money -- and more than the "old" way of doing things.
So, once again, this obviously isn't a model that works for everyone -- and no one's saying it is. But it does show yet another business model that can work for certain bands, by taking a very different look at the market and coming up with creative and innovative ways to get themselves out there, and do so profitably.