Sofar Sounds: Growing A House Party Network [Updated]
House parties take different forms but all tend to exist as alternative venues for specific subcultures to gather. Sofar Sounds is gathering those who wish to enjoy music in a supportive, focused environment that puts music first. Having completed a successful PledgeMusic campaign earlier this year, they are now intent on growing internationally.
Sofar Sounds, dubbed "Songs From A Room," was launched in London in 2009. I spoke this week with Rafe Offer, one of the co-founders, about their slow growth from a passion project to a music business.
Sofar Sounds Promo
Offer said he and his friends were tired of going out to see live shows where the audience wasn't really that interested in the music and they decided to create an alternative. Now with an international presence, Sofar Sounds' primary mission is to host house parties in homes and similar venues.
In a unique twist, performers are not identified and the expectation is that listeners are there to pay attention. Apparently there's an audience for listening to good music in comfortable surroundings. Bohemian Beats describes one such recent concert in the Dallas area.
Sofar is currently expanding their network of volunteers. Such roles will change over time as the business-side develops further but Sofar is also looking to related projects for business potential. For example, they've held a couple of successful ticketed events for larger audiences. In keeping with custom, they did not announce performers and yet did quite well.
Offer pointed out that a lot of their energy goes into identifying great musicians in order to give them full support. He feels that human curation remains an undervalued resource in the music industry.
If Sofar Sounds is able to keep growing and meet their goals, much credit can then be given to their ability to curate both musicians and local organizers.
[Update: A previous version of this post associated Sofar Sounds with Music In Sync which is not the case. My apologies.]
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.