House shows are always popular with traveling musicians, both for those with an existing fanbase or those who want to build a fanbase. For musicians, house shows are a way to reach a new audience, connect with other musicians and those who support them, and maybe even get a few extra perks along the way — like financial support or a place to stay for the night.
If you’re a fan of the intimacy of house shows, you might want to consider hosting them in your own space. Or if you have the room for it, why not turn your spare room, basement, or den into a recording studio or practice studio space?
When you have the right house for it, the sky is really the limit when it comes to the changes you can make to promote music touring and production. So how can you prepare a space for house shows or music production, and create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere for touring musicians and their fans?
Make the Right Upgrades
The first thing you should do when you’re transforming your space for house shows is to make sure your home or space is up to code. Each state has different requirements and building codes, even when it comes to residential construction. Making sure your space follows those rules ensures that it’s safe for everyone, and also ensures that you won’t be hit with hefty fines.
You’ll also likely need to upgrade your electrical outlets. Think about how much power will be needed, even for a small acoustic show. You’ll need to have adequate power for:
Replacing and upgrading your electrical outlets is as easy as calling a local electrician. You can even get more outlets installed, or have additional features added. Some outlets now have built-in USB charging ports, which can be another great feature for house shows if anyone needs to charge their phones.
If you don’t have the money to make any upgrades or repairs to your space, consider taking out a home improvement loan. You’ll get the money right away and can get a loan of up to $100,000 to turn your space into a perfect, intimate venue.
Setting the Stage and the Tone
Once you’re sure your space is safe and you’ve done all of the upgrades needed, it’s time to have some fun! Creating an atmosphere where people will want to spend time and enjoy music is important. So consider some of the following suggestions as you literally start setting the stage and decorating your space:
Use the right lighting
Take advantage of visual displays
Set a comfortable ambiance
Have enough room for the concert-goers
You don’t have to break the bank just to create the ultimate space for a show. Shop thrift stores for vintage decor like retro furniture and art. You can also borrow from drama groups, or ask for donations to fund your cause. Once you start hosting shows or letting bands record in your space, things will end up paying for themselves. But don’t be afraid to get creative on a budget when you’re starting out.
One quick and inexpensive way to completely change the look of your space is to create an accent wall. It can be as simple as painting one wall in the room a different color from the others. Or, you can go further and add artwork or other decorations to that wall. You can even change it up for every show, allowing whoever is playing to pin up their merch to that wall so fans can get a good look at it.
Turning Your Space Into a New Business Venture
It’s up to you to decide whether you want this new space to be a passion project/hobby, or if you want to turn it into a business. Hosting house shows on occasion probably isn’t going to net you much of a profit. But if you host regular shows and create agreements with each band on how the money from ticket sales will be split, it’s a nice way to make some extra money.
The real bread and butter of your business, however, could come from setting up a recording space. There are recording studios all over the world, and they vary in quality. Most studios charge bands anywhere from $50-$500 per hour to record. Even the most basic studios should have some essential equipment, including:
A powerful computer
An audio interface (preferably digital)
A digital audio workstation
If you have audio engineering experience, you can probably keep costs lower for the bands coming into the studio. Otherwise, you’ll need to hire an engineer for each session and pay them, but you can pass those fees onto the bands.
If you do want to turn your production space into a real small business, you may want to consider getting a tax extension. You might not be flooded with bands wanting to play your space or use your studio right away, so it can be difficult to know how much of a profit you’ll make. A tax extension helps you to avoid fees and gives you more time to make sure you’re reporting all of your income.
Whether you just want to change up a room in your house for small shows, or you want to transform a larger space and develop a small production company, it’s a great way to showcase your passion for music while helping both local and touring artists along the way.