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This is How DSM USA Can Be the House Concert Capital of the World

October 17, 2017

It has been said music feeds the soul, and in my opinion, truer words were never spoken. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to have front row seats or a backstage pass at a concert, the power of music is undeniable and nearly palpable. About three years ago, I experienced something even more powerful for the first time: a house concert.

What's a House Concert?

House concerts are exactly what they sound like. A complete acoustic, musical performance by professional musicians located directly in the biggest room of a home. The host invites their friends who all bring their own beverages and possibly a dish to share for a potluck style meal or snacks. The artists are paid by passing the hat for contributions among guests.

During the concert, musicians do more than just perform their music. Guests get to hear incredible stories about their life as a musician, and the stories behind writing their original music. Guests also get to meet and socialize with musicians during intermission or after the show and purchase merchandise directly from the musician. To be clear, these are listening concerts where the musical performance is the focus of the event. It is not a party with background music. Guests are asked to refrain from having conversations during the performance which typically lasts for two, 45 minute sets. 

House Concerts in DSM USA

After my husband and I hosted our first house concert in Greater Des Moines (DSM), I was absolutely hooked. We’ve hosted a concert once a month in our home for the past three years. I quickly realized how much house concert revenue helped musicians, and discovered there was an unmet need for more people to host private house concerts.

Now more than ever, musicians need additional streams of revenue to earn a living. Physical sales of music are down due to streaming services, and concert tours are now the primary source of revenue for most artists. House concerts are a great way for musicians to earn extra money while on a tour by filling in empty nights between venue gigs and for local musicians filling empty nights. House concerts enable musicians to build their fan base and create new live music supporters that in turn start attending more live music performances in public venues and festivals. The ultimate result is a much stronger local live music scene.

HomeDitty Connects Host Homes with Musicians

I decided to make it my personal mission to get more people hosting house concerts and created a business to do just that. DSM-based HomeDitty is a free, online platform that connects musicians directly with people who are interested in hosting live music in their home.

To date, we have 273 hosts signed up in 26 different states. We are currently working with 40 different bands or solo artists on the site who are located primarily in the Midwest and Nashville, TN.

DSM’s supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem has been key to HomeDitty’s success. In addition to DSM’s vibrant startup culture, it also has a thriving local music scene, making it an ideal place for HomeDitty to launch and call home. Furthermore, DSM, located at the crossroads of I-80 and I-35, has a large number of high quality touring musicians from across the country traveling through our region looking for extra gigs. Having an extensive house concert network will make DSM a destination of choice for both emerging and established musicians.

House concerts support artists’ ability to make a living, they make music accessible on a grass roots level and they connect people. HomeDitty makes it fun, free and easy. My hope is for DSM to be a best in class live music city and the house concert capital of the world.

Hear the stories of other small business and startup business owners in the community in The Partnership’s Small Business Resources Hub or sign up for the Small Business Resources newsletter to stay connected for information about upcoming events, other resources and the latest announcements in the small business community in DSM.

Katie Byers

Katie Byers is a former attorney turned entrepreneur who is the Founder & CEO of HomeDittyT, a web-based software built specifically for house concert hosts that launched in February 2017. Katie resides in Greater Des Moines (DSM) with her husband, Jay, and two daughters, Sophie and Charlotte.