House concerts have become synonymous with hipsters as they look for a better alternative to clubs or even full-blown concerts.
How house gigs happen
In India, house concerts have come a long way since Sofar Sounds entered India a few years back. The concept is the same; the host provides the premises and invites guests, sometimes unknown, who either pay a meager admission fee into a jar or make a voluntary contribution at the door. When you go as a guest to a house concert, your hosts will show you to the room/balcony/basement where rows of chairs/yoga mats/carpets have been arranged for the event. The venue could be anywhere from a living room, rooftop, basement, bookshop to an art studio. Other players like Beat map parties, House Concert series, and Living Room tour run on a similar concept.
Whatever the venue, you can expect to enjoy a full-length music performance, complete with intermission, in an intimate setting that allows you to have an opportunity to see the artists at close hand and even interact with them.
Living room concerts that do not need any form of amplification are generally easier to listen to and take up less space. In any case, a professional show is to be expected, with the advantage that invitees do not usually have to drive far to get home and don’t have to dress up for the occasion. The enjoyment is increased by the fact that the concert costs less than a ticket for the same show in a stadium or an arena and as many of them are BYOB- Bring your own Booze, it is a house party albeit disguised as a socially-accepted way to meet strangers.
So, why do professional musicians perform in someone’s home for perhaps only twenty to fifty people? Because even well-known artists have free days, and some of them like to perform to small audiences from time to time. They started out that way, and many of them never forget the thrill and intimacy small concerts bring. What you will not be able to find out from the internet is where these house concerts are being held, as they are not generally advertised for they want to be exclusive.
While all that sounds well and good, are house concerts just a new millennial fad or are they here to stay and grow independent music experiences in India?
Money matters at home
Prarthana Sen, Global Community Development Head, Sofar Sounds told Loudest.in,
“As our world goes digital, the need for intimate interactions has increased which has led to the rise in popularity of house concerts. As the world becomes further digitized, house concerts will only increase as humans crave authentic experiences that make for an authentic social experience compared to a club or a huge concert.”
Sofar Sounds entered India about three years back starting with Bengaluru and has grown to twelve cities including tier-II cities like Imphal and Shillong. Sen believes that Sofar Sounds has figured out collaborations in the country better than its competitors,
“Sofar Sounds lets every country choose its path and lets them figure out how to make their own chapter sustainable. While we are not currently ticketing our events, we do brand collaborations and venue partnerships that can be monetized in the near future to bring in money,”
says Prarthana who is confident of the growth of house concerts in the country.
So while you might be paying Rs. 500 maximum currently to enter one of these concerts, they might be using you like Google does- if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product- ie. to reach out to brands who are willing to advertise to human beings that fit their customer profile. If you’re lucky to be selected, thank your stars, because you can watch musicians under the stars like only a few.
(Pictures credit: Sofar Sounds)