File Under: Booking and Performing Live

As we said last week, all of music business can be boiled down to one formula: the money you make minus the money you spend equals the money you keep. When it comes to touring, one way to increase your take is to keep costs such as hotels as low as possible. Although accommodation costs are a business write-off, last week we showed you ways you can go on a tour without paying for a single hotel by staying at people's hosues. This week, we'll show you how you can get them to pay you to stay at their house.

If you're willing to play smaller shows on the way to each stop on your tour, then consider performing house concerts. House concerts are shows performed in people's homes, usually to a small audience and for a small cover.

Thanks to the web, house concerts -- which are small, private shows hosted at people’s residences -- have grown in popularity. These types of shows grew out of the folk-music community, where intimate settings are especially appropriate. However, many musicians and bands have added these small shows to supplement their standard tours.

Although crash space doesn't automatically come with performing a house concert, you can certainly ask and they may even offer. If you plan your tour right, you could be doing private shows in every stop on your tour, plus getting free lodging. To explore this option, try the following:

1. Announce to your fans you're looking to book house concerts.

As you're planning your tour, be sure to ask your fans directly via social networking or your mailing list to let your fans know that you want to play house concerts.

2. Contact those fans asking you to play their city or town.

Whenever a fan tweets, messages, or sends you an email ask you to play in their city, contact them to see if their place is available or if they know someone who would host. It's also worth reaching out because fans sometimes help connect you to local venues and assist in booking gigs.

3. Agree on payment and ask your host if you can stay at their place.

Normally you'll negotiate a flat fee or a guarantee minimum payment of the door for performing (since what you get paid shouldn’t have to depend on your host’s ability to bring in people). You could also suggest to make lodging a part of the arrangement.

4. Make sure you have the right equipment to put on your own show.

Of course, houses don’t usually have PA or light systems, so you’ll need to come up with your own amplification if you need it. Or you can rent it in the city you're touring ahead of time so you don't need to pack it).

Naturally, there are some safety considerations when playing a house concert or staying at a stranger's house. There's also some legal considerations as well due to zoning laws, so keep in mind sometimes shows that are too loud can get shut down. You can learn more about booking and performing your own house concerts from sites like Concerts In Your Home, and Russ and Julie's House Concerts.

House concerts are a great way to expand your tour as well as make additional income. Plus, if you plan your tour right, you can use a combination of these techniques to do an entire tour without paying for a single hotel!


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Photo credit: sethoscope