How I Got Here

January was a big month. After years of dreaming about launching a company and web platform devoted to house concerts - I finally did it. 

Eight shows down and many, many more in the works. This is exciting.

For those of you who have just jumped on-board: Parlour is a web platform that will facilitate the organization of house concerts. We are building a web app that will connect artists and hosts and allow them to stage their own shows.

Why?

I’ve devoted most of my life to making music. I live and breathe it. From being signed to a major label, to touring with some incredible international artists, I’ve certainly experienced all the ups and downs the music business has to offer. 

But for some time now, I’ve felt a change coming on. Of course, with the traditional music model well and truly behind us, there is more emphasis than ever on playing live. But for most musicians - especially those up and coming - it’s hardly worth it. The experience of playing a great show can be a reward unto itself, but at the end of the day - artists, like all working people, need to get paid for their work. 

I hear it time and time again, once you’ve paid out venue costs, production costs, advertising, agents and managers, support bands and even your own band – you may be left with just enough to get you to the next gig - if you’re lucky. Many of my friends have told me stories of going into debt just to go on tour and play for their fans. Most nights, you don’t know whether you’re going to make money or lose it. Venues have too much power. Where are the guarantees for up and coming artists?

The writing is on the wall – it’s time for change.

A few years ago I was asked to play my first house concert. At this point I was pretty cynical about the music industry. In fact, I had all but given up and returned to university. Years of on and off touring had left me in considerable debt, and touring more only seemed to make it worse.

So, I was asked by a fan to play a house concert. And… it was incredible – life changing even. The host had lit candles and transformed his living room into a little venue; with cushions on the floor and a little stage area. He had invited 60 or so of his closes friends – they’d all chipped in $10 bucks and brought a bottle of wine or a plate of food.

As a performer, I’ve never performed for such an attentive and wonderful audience. All the rock n roll histrionics (lights, PA etc etc) were stripped away, and there I was, with my guitar, singing my heart out for a handful of people that were really listening. 

After the show I managed to meet and talk with the guests. Everyone was so relaxed and open – there was a beautiful community feeling to it. At the end of the night, I packed up the car and was ready to leave when the host chased after me. “You forgot this!” he said, handing me an envelope with $600 inside it. I couldn’t believe it. Not only had I played the most beautiful and meaningful show of my career, but I’d also been paid about 5 times more than I was used to getting for playing a venue. 

Since that night I’ve played many more house concerts. All of them so different in so many wonderful ways. I’m hooked. 

More than anything I’ve fallen in love with the unique way in which hosts express themselves in hosting a house concert. It’s a beautiful thing to behold.

This is what Parlour is all about. We are building a platform that will finally connect artists and hosts and allow them to share the magic of house shows with the world. We are building a web platform that will encourage a hosts creative expression. We are building a web platform that will transform the live music economy. 

We have heaps of shows booked in over the next few months.

We look forward to sharing this journey with you.

Matt Walters

March 2015

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