Standing in line outside waiting to get into a crowded, sweaty music venue where the bartender can't make a proper Old Fashioned, the music is too loud to gossip about work and the mosh pit makes you sore the next day is for the young. When you get old like me (30), it's time to sit in a friend's backyard sipping craft beer listening to a soulful singer-songwriter honky-tonk guitarist/fiddler while munching on nitrite-free hot dogs with a small group of people.
So thank god Parlor Shows made exactly that so I don't have to dye my hair and start crowd surfing again.
Parlor Shows is a new take on house concerts. Parlor Shows mimics the Airbnb model so anyone can turn their backyard or living rooms into a venue for musicians and fans. It works as such: Musicians and hosts both sign up on the site then find each other based on various factors: location and preferred genre, for example. Then people buy tickets to hear new artists live and musicians actually make money, according to Parlor Shows.
Reno's serial entrepreneur Ashley Jennings, who created Girlmade, Maker Faire Reno and Reno’s Startup Weekend, created this new startup.
She started the company to solve a problem: "musicians find it hard to make a living doing what they love, due to time or money," according to Parlor Shows website. Parlor Shows tries to break through the complexity and frustration of booking local shows, according to its mission, so that musicians can make more money from their talents.
This method cuts out a lot of middleman, such as agents, promoters, ticket takers, bar staff, groupies, roadies and drifters. It's not unlike other recent disruptive startups that make use of existing infrastructure to create a sharing economy: Uber uses idle drivers instead of taxi fleets, Airbnb uses vacant living space instead of building hotel chains and Fiverr uses independent graphic design talent instead of creating an ad agency, for example.
For the opening week, Parlor Shows held a four-day house-concert festival called Backyard Beats. Each day, a new house hosted folk, rock, classical and hip-hop shows.
A show could gross $600 or more in one night, for example, depending on the number of tickets sold and at what price, Jennings said. Parlor Shows takes 20 percent, leaving the artist with the rest. The host can also take a cut if they want. If musicians sell merchandise, they keep all of that revenue.
The locations are kept secret until concertgoers purchase tickets, which range from $10 to $80 depending on the venue. Keeping the locations secret protects the hosts and prevents people from just showing up to take advantage of the relaxed nature of the shows. Before arriving, people are encouraged to BYOE (bring your own everything): chairs, blankets, food, drinks. The host sometimes provides a lot of this but may be in limited quantities.
So if you want a barrel-aged craft cocktail, you gotta bring your own barrel.
“The quality of artists coming to participate in this experiment is next level,” Jennings said in a press release. “It proves two things to me: first, Reno is back on the radar of top performers and also that there’s a real hunger to have a more personal music listening experience among my peers. The positive response from this community has been astounding.”