Merch sales are a must these days. Particularly if you can’t receive a guaranteed payment from the club. (ie percentage of the till and/or door)The merch sales can suppliment your payment from the club. And could very well be your ticket home.
First thing’s first. If you’re selling shirts, you need to do one of two things.
1) have one design that most people will want. Which can be tough.
2) have multiple designs.
We have one that says “F*ck I’m A God” and one that says “I Have Transformed From A Man To Machine”. Both are lines from our songs. Though the reason we did this is a marketing strategy.
As a person walks by your merch table, would you rather have them glance at your SHIRT and decide “do I want that?” or LOOK at your shirtS and decide “which one do I want?”
People like to make decisions. Give them options.
Also, a shirt with ‘F*UCK’ on it can go less places than a shirt with no vulgar language. So it’s definitely not a shirt for everyone.
Do we consider it a good investmen? Absolutely. First night we pulled out the merch – we made $xxx.xx in sales. That’s hundreds we wouldn’t have had otherwise…. And above all, it’s branding for the band that’s out on the streets and in the hands of fans – infecting others.
How many times do they say “head on” in that TV commercial? And now you know exactly what commercial I’m talking about. (if you’ve seen it once, you know…)
As for organizing the merch. For display, we’ve taken one of each shirt, and put them out for display. At the end of the night – those go into a bag marked DISPLAY. When we sell a shirt, we want that owner to take it home, smelling new. Not like the stench of stale cigarettes from the last 50 clubs we played before finally selling that particular shirt.
Make your merch pricing and options as visible as possible. Attach some to the wall whenever possible. This way your fans don’t have to walk right in front of your merch to see it. They can see it from a distance as they head to the bar to get their jag on.
And I can NOT stress that enough!!! Our last gig, they had us setup merch at the oppisite end of the building, in ANOTHER ROOM that wasn’t being used for ANYTHING but selling merch! If people didn’t go there for the sole purpose of buying merch, they NEVER saw it. And yes – our sales were down as expected.
Offer package deals. If someone buys a shirt and a CD, drop the price a few bucks. Make them feel good about the purchase because they “saved” money.
If you can afford to do so, give a CD or shirt away on stage. You hand something like that out to someone in the crowd, everybody looks. They take a peek at what you’re offering, even if they really didn’t want to. And they just might like what they see….
Giving away free merch ALWAYS works. I bring CD’s with me everywhere, even if it isn’t my show or an artist I am working with at that moment.
People want everything free. It’s natural.
Secondly, packaging merch is like a secret weapon. Especially if you position the “bonus” goods as free – see how I connected the two? Pay attention kids!
Lets say manufacturing a CD costs $1.30 per unit at the rate of pressing 1000 units. For a simple black t-shirt with your group logo in white front/center and your web address on the back across the shoulders lets say $3.40 per shirt at the rate of 1500 shirts, 500 in each of 3 sizes…
Those items combined cost you $4.70, you sell the CD for $10 and position the “bonus” t-shirt for free with purchase of the CD – $5.30 profit.
Sell the CD and t-shirt combo for $15, positioning the regular price of the t-shirt at $20. Thats $10.30 profit!
You sneaky Mr. Blue.
I’m gonna feel used and abused next time I fall in that trap.
Thanks for the comment bro. Indeed, free stuff is the way to go for many things. But the thing is to not to give too much away. Lend the crowd a hand and it might just rip your arm off. Poor metaphor. what i mean is that free stuff can come and bite you in the ass if you give too much of it away.
Hey Travis! Bree told me you were interested in talinkg about mastering anytime you want me to master a sample of one of your tracks just email it over If you also know roughly the length of your new album (# of tracks, total minutes) I can hammer out a quote for youTalk Soon Sir, Enjoy your week, Regards,Email Me DwainePS Nice work on the website!
I have had quite a bit of luck with the looooong table method
as soon as the show is over the band goes directly to the merch table where there are sharpies and chairs waiting
The crowd know because the front man pimps the after show autograph session during the show “we’ll sign anything you buy for free, so buy lots” Line up the buyers at the merch table (we usually use two tables ) and pass them by the merch, then the cashier(usually a girlfriend or roadie) and finally the band who sign shirts CD’s boobs whatever they want.
Once a line is formed it is human nature to get on the end of it.
otherwise they just leave and talk about what a great show it was. Give them a chance to meet and greet AND BUY.
We found that in 5 consecutive tours merchandise represented 85 percent of all tour income!!!