The take isn’t just cash, of course. Andy Bothwell, who goes by the stage name of Astronautalis and is a musician from Jacksonville, Florida, has built much of his career through house concerts. His genre-blending style and penchant for telling long, humorous stories between songs are well suited for such intimate shows and settings, as is his lack of a full band (Bothwell raps and sings to prerecorded tracks, which he plays from his laptop). While Bothwell has grown in popularity and started playing at bigger clubs that have begun to recruit him, he still attempts to recreate the feeling of the more than 300 house concerts he’s performed. “I try to manufacture the intimacy of the house show [wherever I go] by sitting on the edge of the stage, walking in the crowd, and talking directly to the audience,” he says. “I want people to walk away from my show feeling like they were a part of something special.”

House concerts provide a unique way for neighbors and families to connect -- they’re a twenty-first-century take on the block party. And musicians reap the benefits of them as well. Beyond money or free lodging, it’s the experience, they say, that often means the most.

“My wife jokes about this,” Snyder remarks. “She says, ‘You get to visit friends for a living.’ ?”