The Big House Concert Lie And 3 Ways To Fix It

II often read articles about house concerts that state “the host does all the work.” I might even be guilty of this statement myself. But if you’re serious about making money with house concerts this couldn’t be further from the truth.

If you want to play mediocre house concert shows or deal with constant last second cancellations keep believing it’s all up to your host. If you want to maximize the potential in house concerts — read on.

The first step to preventing a sad house concert show is to recognize that it’s all under your control. While your host may be responsible for inviting guests, serving food and making sure the room is full, it’s your job to be the cheerleader, educator and entertainer. Here are three things you must do between booking and performing a house concert if you want to maximize your opportunity.

Reset your expectations


Too many musicians take a “set it and forget it” attitude towards house concerts. Once you’ve booked the show your work is done until the night of the show, right? WRONG!

House concerts are all about customer service. Adding house concerts to your revenue stream is really a decision to enter the customer service industry. With the possible exception of instrument lessons, nowhere else in your musical career will you be required to provide this level of customer (i.e. fan) care.

You need to replace your “set it and forget it” attitude with a customer service mindset. Don’t leave the show to chance. Actively create a system for house concerts with the single goal of providing the best experience for your fans. From the moment they book until you leave their home after the show, what can you do to make it better?

Educate, educate, educate

Most likely, your fans haven’t held a house concert before. They barely know what a house concert is so they’re definitely not experts in sound or promotions. If you’re lucky they’ll be looking to you to answer a lot of questions. If your unlucky, your fans will wing it; leaving you disappointed in their show.

The better prepared your host is, the more people will be at their show and the more money you’ll make. It’s up to you to teach them everything they need to know about hosting a killer show.

Your host also sets the expectations for their guests. The wrong expectations can lead to low turnout, lackluster energy and poor merch sales. If your host sets the right expectations everyone will know it’s a concert and not a party. They’ll be there for the right reasons and more open to your performance.

It’s your job to give your host the resources they need to be successful. Your goal should be to answer their questions before they even know they have one. Put yourself in your fan’s shoes. Pretend you’ve never been to a house concert before. What would you want to know? Craft an email or pdf booklet to answer all those questions.

Here’s a collection of house concert resources you can use to help educate your potential hosts.

Over communicate

Lack of communication is probably the number one reason fans cancel house concerts at the last second. In a word, they’re worried you aren’t ‘professional.’

A fan who books a house concert show has a lot of mixed emotions about the whole process. Of course they’re excited you’re coming to perform. But they’re also worried about disappointing you, feeling overwhelmed by the whole idea and worried you’ll embarrass them in front of their friends by not showing up. Or worse yet, showing up drunk.

To some it may be “only a house concert” but to your fan it’s a huge commitment. They’ve invited all their friends, relatives and neighbors. They’ve put their personal reputation on the line and they’re counting on you to deliver.

Show them you’re serious by over communicating. Create a series of emails you can send to hosts you are working with. Educate them about the process. Reassure them they’re doing a great job. Make them feel like their house concert is the only thing you’re working on right now. Make them feel special.

But most importantly, let them know their show is very important to you and you’re going to do everything you can to make sure their guests have a great time.

Jennine Kristianson is the owner of Only Sky Artist where she provides marketing resources for DIY independent artists as well as coaching and custom marketing services. She is also the author of House Concerts: build a fan base one living room at a time and its companion guide for fans The Ultimate Guide to Hosting a House Concert. She can be found at or on Twitter @OnlySkyArtist.