S1: Not really jazzy

Spotlight 1: ArtRoom artists playing music close to but not really jazz.

We are officially kicking off our new series of Spotlight blogs: stories about specific genres, styles or artists available on our platform. First up: Not really jazzy.  

What is it?

If it is “not really jazzy”, what is it? I would describe it as classical music but with a jazzy twist, or classical music influenced by jazz. Given jazz music developed much later than classical music, this brings a counterintuitive fusion of tunes. But given the large overlap between classical instruments and highly typical jazz instruments such as piano, trumpet, saxophone, clarinet and bass, the possibilities are endless.    

Who plays it?

“Is Jazz music too?” is the name of Celia Garcia and Femke IJlstra’s latest show in the Netherlands. Based on a program made by the charismatic singer Éva Gauthier, they combine romantic Ravel with classical-meets-jazz-opera-and-musical Gershwin. 

Listen here

Carlos Gimenez, the Netherlands, recently graduated as a classical saxophonist from the Amsterdam Conservatory. However, he combines his classical repertoire with short blues and bossa nova pieces – all accompanied by piano.   

Listen here

In Boston, Alper Tuzcu & LASUA – both Berklee School of Music alumni – combine traditional music from Turkey and India with influences from jazz and Latin music.

Listen here

Who is it for? 

Introducing jazzy tunes in more traditional repertoires is an interesting and renewing experience for all music enthusiasts, Moreover, it is a fantastic way to introduce more traditional repertoires to younger and less musically educated audiences. The jazzy influences have the ability to make classical music less stiff, more inviting and more recognizable, appealing to virtually anyone in the audience.

Visit us at www.artroom.live   

H5: Artist best practices

How it works blog 5: Learn what are best practices for artists.

The first artists have started receiving bookings on ArtRoom. Some artists have even received multiple requests. What can you do as an artist to stand out and receive bookings? It is easier than you think!

Example winning profiles

1. Complete your profile

First up: complete all the standard fields in your profile. Many hosts use act size, instruments and genre to search / filter for. If you haven’t selected these, you will not show up in their search results. 

2. Add a professional profile picture

Your profile picture is your first impression, so make sure you set it right. We recommend choosing a picture that looks professional and that shows that you are a musician – i.e. it shows your instrument. This signals quality and professionalism to the hosts.

3. Elaborate in your description

Leverage your description to set the scene of the concert, as well as to provide the host with more information to gauge quality. Specifically:

  • Write at least 4 sentences (that implies at least ~400 characters; the website allows up to 700 characters)
  • A charismatic opening that sets the scene to a potential concert helps to visualize the possibilities for the concert – see a great example at the end of this blog
  • Introduce yourself: briefly describe where you are from and mention any training you may have had, e.g. conservatorium 
  • Provide some details on the (range of) music you can play: give examples of styles, periods, composers and/or pieces you can perform

4. Add videos

Videos are the main method for hosts to gauge quality and judge whether this is the type of style they are looking for. Receiving bookings without video material is basically impossible – compare it to booking an Airbnb without having seen any pictures of the home. Therefore, ensure you upload at least one video. In contrast to the profile picture, this does not have to be professional. An iPhone video of you practicing can already help a lot!  

5. Think about your level of compensation

Finally, ensure you include an accurate compensation level. ArtRoom’s mission is to empower artists to earn a fair income. That said, if you do not receive any bookings you might want to consider lowering your compensation level, at least temporarily, as

  • Lower compensation levels often lead to more regular bookings. 
  • Without reviews (upon starting), hosts might be more hesitant to pay a high compensation. You could lower your compensation level until you have the reviews to warrant a higher price. 

Next we will discussthe biggest misconceptions about ArtRoom

Visit us at www.artroom.live   

H4: How to arrange the payment

How it works blog 4: Learn which options you have to compensate the artists.

It is important to be aware you do not have to carry all the costs for the artist yourself. ArtRoom offers two methods to pay the artists: foot the entire bill yourself or share it with your guest. How the shared method works is detailed below. First, we detail how ArtRoom safeguards your payment.

How do artist payments work?

Whatever payment method you choose, it is important to know ArtRoom takes measures to ensure your money is spent well. We will send you a link to pay the artist about a week before the concert. You are required to pay the artists’ compensation beforethe concert. We will hold the money in escrow until the concert is successfully completed. If there was an issue with your concert, for example the artist did not show up, you have 72 hours to inform us, via the website or via email. In that case, we will refund you. If we have not heard from you, we will pay out the artist 72 hours upon completion of the concert. 

How can I best share the payment with my guest? 

We welcome sharing the payment with the audience, to ensure ArtRoom is affordable and available to everyone. Sharing a $/€300 artist with 20 friends/relatives quickly makes it an affordable, $/€15 affair. 

As the host, you are ultimately responsible to cover the costs of the artists. ArtRoom will send you a payment link for the full amount about a week before the concert. It is up to you to gather the individual payments of the audience. 

If you are unsure how many people will come, determining the amount to charge your guests can be tricky. A few tips:

  • In your early communication, indicate a price range that allows for more/fewer guests (e.g. “the concert will cost $15-20”) 
  • Wait to communicate/collect the amount until you are sure of the size of the audience, e.g. until the day of/after the concert
  • You could determine a maximum number of guests and require guests to pay upfront, communicating that in case they cancel later on they will have to find a replacement 

To ensure your guests pay, we recommend the following:

  • Communicate clearly in advance you expect all your guests to make a payment; also make clear this is per person not per couple/family.
  • Send out payment links (e.g. TIKKIE or Venmo) at least a week before the concert.
  • If guests have not paid up front, take a minute after the concert to thank your audience and ask them to fill out the payment link collectively. 

Can I really share the payment with my guests? 

Absolutely! In our experience, guests are very willing to help cover the contribution to the artist. We typically asked between $/€10-20, which is less than most concerts would cost. Important is to explain why you ask this: to ensure a fair compensation for the artists, as artists are unfortunately often underpaid in the industry.

We also recommend you detail this upfront, such that guests are not unpleasantly surprised. For example, in the standard invitation that you can download in our FAQ page, there is mentioning of a payment.

You could also compare it to Airbnb: someone books and pays for a home stay, but everyone that sleeps over typically pays their share to the organizer.  

Please note: selling tickets for your concert at a profit violates ArtRoom’s terms and conditions. When notified of such behavior, actions will be taken. 

Next we will kick off our series of artist best practices.

Visit us at www.artroom.live   

H3: How to go from chamber music concert to unique event in 4 simple steps

How it works blog 3: Learn what finishing touches to add to your ArtRoom concert.

The previous blogs detailed what to take into consideration when choosing an artist. When you have booked an artist, it’s time to have some fun! 

  • Theme

I love choosing a theme for the event around the artist – our picking the artist to match a theme. For example, when I hosted a fado trio (Portugese folk), I themed my event into a “Portuguese summer”. Instead of leveraging the region of the music/artists, you could also pick a theme related to the time period of the repertoire, or to the style of the music. Think “romantic brunch” for a classical/romantic strings duo or “James Bond” for a brass ensemble. A theme party does not mean you have to go all out with decorations and outfits, but even a light/vague theme can make the concert feel like a special event to your guests.

  • Invitation

Even if I have already sent out save the dates via email or social media, I always send a nicely formatted invitation with more information later. Guests love receiving this information; it gets them excited days ahead of the event! Short on time/inspiration? You can download our standard invitation here: https://www.artroom.live/homes/faq

  • Venue & decorations

Most importantly, you should choose the setting such that the acoustics of the music work well. Then, of course you want your guests to be comfortable. When that is all set, see if you want to play around with the positioning of the artists. For example, when we hosted the “Portuguese summer” concert, we decided to have the concert out on the roof terrace under the setting sun to give it that extra touch. We also put a bright yellow table cloth on the table; a small touch that really helped with creating the overall vibe/theme.

  • Refreshments

I always try to do something clever with the refreshments. For example, I match the drinks to the theme (for the Portuguese theme, we offered only one type of wine: the famous Portuguese vinho verde). Sometimes I choose to have a “mini-theme” around the refreshments, for example “Build your own GT’s” or “Wine & Cheese”. I have found that limiting the number of options to match a theme makes shopping easier and often more economical, while guests feel like you made a special effort. Win-win! Of course you can also ask all your guests to bring a dish/drinks.

Read in our next How it works blog about the different options in which you can compensate the artist.

Visit us at www.artroom.live   

H2: How to choose an artist

How it works blog 2: Learn what to consider when choosing an artist.

The previous blog detailed three potential starting points for organizing an ArtRoom concert. For all of these, at some point you will need to browse the ArtRoom database and choose and artist. But choosing from dozens of artists can be overwhelming. So, what do you take into consideration? 

  • Genre

All ArtRoom artists play chamber music; meaning the music is suited for smaller venues and is acoustic. That said, our artists play different styles of chamber music, including a range of classical styles, jazz, folk/world music (including fado) and contemporary music. Choose a style you love, you know your guests like, or that fits a theme.

  • Instrument

Our artists play over 20 different instruments. If there is a particular instrument you love, this is a great way to start your search for artists. If you don’t have a preference, just be mindful that all artists bring their own instrument, with the exception of piano, harpsicord and organ. Be careful not to book these artists without access to the instrument. 

  • Formation

ArtRoom artists play in solo-form, duos or small ensembles. Duos and ensembles typically arrange for slightly more dynamic performances; it is wonderful to be able to watch the interaction between the artists. With larger formations, be mindful of the space they require. Solo artists are great for smaller budgets and spaces, as well as for specific instrument lovers. Don’t underestimate how powerful a solo piano recital can be! 

  • Quality 

After having made a selection of one or a few artists, it is important to check if their quality is up to your standard. You can do this in two ways: First, you can gauge quality by reading ratings and reviews of previous concerts. Some artists might not have (sufficient) reviews yet. Luckily, all artists have uploaded a portfolio. Watching video material of the artists is typically a great way to check their level, as well as their style!

  • Budget

ArtRoom offers a large variety of artists, which comes with a large variety in budgets. Our artists start at €80 and go up to €1,000+. Most artists range between €250-500. The compensation posted on the website is an indication and can vary with location, concert duration and special requests. To avoid unpleasant surprises, check whether the artist fits your budget before sending an inquiry. But feel free to negotiate! 

As with organizing the concert, there is no golden rule on where to start. But make sure to check all five criteria before you book. To make it easier, you can filter artists on the first three criteria by clicking “Filter” and “Apply” on the right of the search screen.

If you are still overwhelmed with how to choose an artist, don’t worry! You can always click the “Recommend me” button on www.artroom.live/searchand have us help you out!

Read next how to organize the logistics and refreshments.

Visit us at www.artroom.live   

H1: How to organize an ArtRoom concert – Where to start

How it works blog 1: Learn the steps I take in organizing ArtRoom concerts in my apartment in Amsterdam.

In the previous blogs I shared how I built the ArtRoom platform. Before launching the website, I already hosted a few concerts in my own apartment to test out the concept. Read in this first “How it works” blog which steps I took to organize a successful event. 

There are three potential starting points in organizing a concert: the date, the artist or the audience. All of these work well – which one to choose depends on your situation. Read below when to choose what. 

  • The date

Best for: Celebrations. In case you want to organize an ArtRoom concert to celebrate a birthday or milestone, you probably have a specific date in mind. In that case, pick your date well in advance and then match all else to that date. 

Next steps: We recommend informing your audience as soon as you have picked a date. Finding an artist for your specific date might take some time and people’s calendars might be filling up in the meantime. Therefore, as soon as you know your date, we recommend sending out a save the date. This can be informal, with an official invite with more information (including details about the artist) following later. Start reaching out to artists preferably at least two months before your date to ensure you can find a suitable artist on your date.

  • The audience

Best for: Group events. If you have a specific group in mind to organize the ArtRoom concert with/for, we recommend to start by informing them about your plan and gauging interest. Then gather information about availability (e.g. using scheduling tool like http://www.doodle.com) and budgets (if you are looking to share the costs of the artist with your audience).

Next steps: Pick a date that suits your group, and then start looking for an artist within the budget/preferences of your group. We recommend to start looking for an artist about 6-8 weeks prior to your concert date.

  • The artist

Best for: Specific requests, e.g. for your second or third ArtRoom concert. If you have something specific in mind – for example you want a duo with guitar – or you if you have a specific artist in mind, start by contacting them about their availability. If you have hosted an ArtRoom concert before, you might be looking for something similar or for something completely different from last time. I like to vary my concerts and try out new things; I now like to start organizing by thinking of an instrument or style I haven’t heard live at my place yet.   

Next steps: After you have picked your artist, contact them about their availability. Choose a date that suits you, and invite your guests. 

Read next how to choose between all the artists registered in our second How it works blog. Afterwards, we will detail how to organize the logistics and refreshments.

Visit us at www.artroom.live   

B3: Making a marketplace: Marketing ArtRoom

Business blog 3: Learn how I built awareness for ArtRoom and generated our first booking.

In the previous blog I detailed how I launched the ArtRoom website in the Netherlands in the summer of 2019. Within a few weeks we had more than 50 artists registered. I soon realized finding artists wasn’t the problem – finding hosts was. I had learned all about big marketing campaigns at Harvard Business School, but how to market ArtRoom without a budget? 

I started by identifying three potential target markets for ArtRoom: cultured millennials (like myself) looking for new experiences, upper class innovators wealthy enough to organize upscale events and music lovers willing to experience music in new settings. 

I then talked to some “industry experts”, all of which told me I should forget about trying to generate PR or social media awareness on my own – “you need to hire a professional to do that for you”. So I had to be creative… 

I started with chasing the target group most easily identifiable: music lovers. These are easy enough to find – for three months I tried to attend as many concerts and classical music festivals as I could. I always considered myself an extreme extrovert, but even for me walking up to strangers to pitch my business was no easy game! Luckily the responses were overwhelmingly positive. And by talking to my potential customers one on one, I learned a great deal about them and how to cater them through ArtRoom. 

I figured if I could find these people in real life, I should also be able to find them online. I launched the ArtRoom Instagram account and started following everyone who followed the concert halls and music festivals I had visited. Within a month ArtRoom had more than 600 followers, without spending a single dime! 

Throughout the summer, I organized 8 trial concerts myself. These were helpful for me to learn all about organizing ArtRoom concerts – information that I can then pass on to my customers. But they also generated significant word of mouth promotion from the audience and they gave me fantastic social media material, showing first-hand what an ArtRoom concert can be like. 

After my success with Instagram I thought: Why not give PR a try myself too? What do I have to lose? I emailed every single journalist I could find online that had previously written about low wages for freelance musicians, positioning ArtRoom as a potential solution to this problem. And guess what? A day later I received a call from a journalist who wanted to interview me and later that month a different journalist and photographer attended a concert in my apartment. My biggest take away from this all: you don’t have to follow all advice given to you.

In early August, just two months after launching www.artroom.live, the marketing activities started to pay off and the first booking was made on the platform that didn’t come from my network. I am confident more will follow soon – exciting times ahead!

Read next how I organized my trial concerts in the first “How it works” blog.

Visit us at www.artroom.live   

B2: How I founded ArtRoom

Business blog 2: Learn how I built up ArtRoom from an idea to a working website.

One intimate concert in my classmates’ apartment, sitting on the floor, sipping wine with my best friends, inspired me to create ArtRoom (read more in B1). My father soon confirmed there was market potential in the Netherlands, so what next?

Lucky for me, one of my best friends at Harvard is a serial entrepreneur: Melissa is just 26 years old and is already working on her third startup (that employs >70 people!). That same week we spent an afternoon on her couch running business models in Excel over some tea to see if the idea was financially feasible – at least on paper. Her enthusiasm and support helped me to really start believing in ArtRoom. 

I also managed to talk to the manager of groupmuse, through which my classmate had organized the concert. Groupmuse is a Boston-based platform coordinating and publishing chamber music concerts in and around Boston. Their biggest growth limiting factor was finding hosts willing to open up their house to strangers. This convinced me ArtRoom would launch as a private booking platform where hosts control the entire experience: choosing the artist, the ambiance and the audience. 

My entrepreneurship classes at Harvard had taught me to test as many as your assumptions as possible before investing heavily into the business. I listened to this, almost… I sent out a survey to musicians in my own and my father’s network and scheduled a trial concert during my next visit to Amsterdam (I also spent the majority of my classes in that first week doodling potential names in my notebook, until my father came up with ArtRoom).

However, impatient as I am, before waiting for the results, I hired a team of web developers online to build the initial version of the website. My other close friend at Harvard, an ex-Apple engineer, had to write down the specifications of the website, as my technical knowledge was limited to “I need an online booking platform… that works…”. 

I was fortunate to have my impatience payoff: That same summer ArtRoom launched in the Netherlands and within a few weeks we had more than 50 artists registered, most of which had already signed up through the initial survey.

Read about how we generated our first bookings in the next blog.

Visit us at http://www.artroom.live

B1: Sparking the entrepreneurial dream: ArtRoom

Business blog 1: Learn what inspired me to create ArtRoom.

Me and my dad the month I founded ArtRoom

Wednesday night, Boston, late February. Picture short, dark days accompanied by a lovely little snow storm. Luckily for me, my German classmate Marius had offered to host a “groupmuse” concert. As a music lover, daughter of two musicians and amateur piano player, I was excited to attend. But I had no idea I would walk away from this evening changing all my career plans and running off with a business idea.

That evening, I sat on the floor next to my closest MBA friends, sipping red wine while listening to a young violin and cello duo. I had forgotten what it feels like to sit that close to the musicians and their music: that moment of intense concentration when they look into each other’s eyes to determine the starting split second, the little drop of sweat running down the temple, the fingers clutching deep into the strings, the tap of the rhythm with the left foot. 

I also loved the intimacy of being at home rather than on a stage: hearing the little pause in the music when a page has to be turned, being able to discuss the music with the artists afterwards over a drink, smiling back at my friend when they play a song by a composer from her country. 

I was sold. 

When Ubering home later that evening after a few more glasses of wine, I told my friends I had to launch this in Amsterdam. We laughed and speculated on the business model. The next morning, I woke up sober, but equally passionate about the idea. I called my father, a musician and musicologist in the Netherlands, and asked him if there was any platform through which I could organize a chamber music concert back home. Not to his knowledge.

For years, while working as a strategy consultant at BCG in the Netherlands, I had secretly dreamt of starting something of my own. This feeling had only gotten stronger during my MBA studies at Harvard Business School (the reason I was in Boston), but I had always managed to tell myself that one simple excuse: you don’t have an idea. I had originally planned to spend my summer interning at a firm in Kenya, but I realized I now had no more excuses left. I had found my one missing piece to the entrepreneurial dream: ArtRoom.

Read about how I founded ArtRoom in the months that followed in the next blog.

Visit us at: http://www.artroom.live

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