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Published on August 24th, 2021 | by Dr. Jerry Doby


Side Door Launches ‘Back To Live’ Program, Offering Subsidies For Live and Virtual Shows Hosted in Unique Spaces

Side Door, the “any space is a venue” marketplace platform for the arts, is launching BACK TO LIVE with Side Door, a new support program designed to increase live performance spaces by supporting existing spaces and helping first-time hosts get started. The program will help artists return to live entertainment quickly within a financially sustainable model despite a widespread loss of small-to-medium-sized clubs throughout the United States. Side Door aims to give all artists the opportunity to perform by empowering every-day people to get involved, hosting and curating shows in their own spaces for their communities. Hosts on Side Door represent a diverse range of spaces from backyards and living rooms, to commercial businesses and community halls. 

Side Door understands that not every place is able to host in-person shows due to the pandemic, so the program includes options for artists to apply for a promotional subsidy for online shows as well. Side Door requires that in-person shows adhere to local public health guidelines and strongly encourages applications from under-represented groups. 

Through this subsidy program, hosts in any state can apply for financial support to subsidize eligible costs of a live performance event booked via the platform, including but not limited to music, dance, theatre, comedy, spoken word and lecture. To be eligible, the show must be public and ticketed with Side Door and take place prior to December 31, 2021. Both new and existing Side Door hosts are eligible for the program. 

“As a host myself, I know that there can be a feeling of uncertainty when you begin (or begin again) hosting shows in your space,” says Laura Simpson, CEO and co-founder of Side Door. “We want to de-risk this opportunity for people with great spaces, while opening more doors to artists who are starved for places to perform and enable a robust touring circuit. This program is meant to empower the community and give artists of all backgrounds places to showcase their talents.” 

“And as an artist who built my career on these kinds of shows,” co-founder Dan Mangan continues, “I envision a world where shows can be booked in bespoke spaces anywhere in the world between perfect strangers in minutes. Playing impactful shows to

intimate and attentive audiences in non-traditional spaces allowed me to build a loyal audience and make a living. Until you can sell hundreds of tickets in any city, it’s just the most artistically and financially viable way to tour.” 

A wide array of hosts are eligible to apply for In-Person or Hybrid shows – live music venues, commercial spaces, private, outdoor spaces, businesses, community spaces, residential and more – for up to $500 of support depending on the size of the show. Artists performing online-only shows can apply for a promotional digital ad campaign subsidy of $100. Subsidy is not guaranteed. Applications will be reviewed on a first-come-first-serve basis. Expenses must be eligible. 

To apply for the subsidy, click here. For more information about hosting a Side Door show, visit

Co-founded by music industry professional Laura Simpson and JUNO award-winning (like Canadian GRAMMYs) recording artist and songwriter Dan Mangan, Side Door provides nearly 5,000 artists and 2,000 hosts the tools to produce and ticket intimate shows in non-traditional performance spaces like backyards, bookstores, warehouses, and living rooms. Artists can bypass traditional entertainment industry gatekeepers, browse spaces, and connect directly with passionate hosts around the globe to book their performances. Likewise, hosts can reach out directly to artists and curate shows for their community. Audiences can seek out unique and intimate artistic experiences close to home and become hosts themselves. 

The platform pays out show stakeholders automatically based on their mutually agreed split of revenue and even brokers royalty remittance to Performing Rights Orgs (such as ASCAP and BMI) for musical performances so users aren’t liable for licensing issues. Hosts and artists can also stream their concerts to a hybrid online audience via Side Door’s securely ticketed online show options (either “Interactive” via Zoom or a more traditional live-streaming “Broadcast” lane). 

About Side Door: 

Side Door was established in 2017 to connect artists with alternative venue spaces and their audiences through high-value intimate shows. The company offers an efficient, friendly, and transparent platform where anybody can perform, host, or present shows for their communities. Through its leading technology and design, the company delivers in-person, virtual, interactive, and broadcast experiences for artists and audiences anywhere, anytime.

About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, Media and SEO Consultant, Journalist, Ph.D. and retired combat vet. 2023 recipient of The President's Lifetime Achievement Award. Partner at THM Media Group. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, the United States Press Agency and ForbesBLK.

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