Thread: Merchandising your band

Results 1 to 9 of 9

  1. #1
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Location Bexley, OH
    Posts 2,346
    Rep Power 536871118

    Default Merchandising your band

    The live sound experience is going to have a number of threads/stickies/primers about things relating to live shows, band, and other live show issues. I'm taking the tack that instead of just writing things as an article with only my experience, i'd rather get some things started as a thread so that all of our input can be put into these subjects. I'll make them a sticky, or otherwise feature all of the info in one place.

    Merchandise - your band might make more money on this than you do on gigging. T-shirts, videos, cd's, stickers, whatever you can sell at shows or in stores.

    as a slightly pedantic side note, merchandise is any of the above items that are being sold. swag is promo items given away for free. it was explained to me that swag was an acronym for stolen without a gun, an old pirate term. now it's used for any materials given away for the sake of band promotion. usually tshirts, stickers, cd's, or posters. these may be the same items that are sold as merchandise otherwise, but the terms merchandise and swag are not interchangeable as one has to do with free and the other is about making some money.

    bands selling merchandise in live shows often have their own person, perhaps a touring manager, to watch the merch table. venues don't provide staff for selling band gack, so it's up to the band to have that covered. relatedly, having something to hang posters on, a table to put out, and some means of handling cash (or credit) is the bands responsibility - i wouldn't count on the venue having any of this. bringing your own folding tables with merch samples and easily readable labels for pricing is recommended. if you have a video, having an intergrated tv/video player running the video is recommended. some larger venues get a cut from merch sales (not typically bars or clubs, but large scale touring). so keeping good accounting is recommended.

    companies like cdbaby.com not only do a great job helping folks sell their cd's ( i highly recommend all bands get connected with them), they also do something great for bands at venues playing live shows. they let bands get credit card machines to use at the venue so that you can accept credit card payments for merchandise. i say make it as easy as possible for folks to buy stuff from you. in this day and age, you can expect credit cards as the payment norm more and more.

    so with these few ideas to get us started, perhaps folks can add to the discussion. where do you get merch like band tshirts? how many do you sell or give away? do you have a video? how do you display your wares at the shows? any other merchandise or swag comments are welcome. let's get into this topic.
  2. #2
    Bassist/struggling pizza boy! Digs Ditches
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Location behind a meterbridge
    Posts 54
    Rep Power 132

    Default Re: Merchandising your band

    GREAT topic!

    (I pulled this from my post in a similar topic in Bad Bob's forum)

    There's Beer Huggies, Totes, Jackets, etc... Try searching for "Promotional Items"... LOTS of stuff and service providers to choose from!

    One thing I did for a band was print some "official" backstage tour passes for a band. I made sure I put the words "Not Valid At Any Venue" on them. The intent was to get the band to autograph the pass when it was purchased.

    I made em' about half the normal size. I laminated them and put a cheap lanyard on em. The band sold them like hotcakes in a few different places.

    The concept was a music industry "trading card". Maybe it'll catch on... Wouldn't it be slick to eventually see these things on eBay? or hear fans at gigs... "Hey, I'll trade you a Blind Fish for 2 Jimmy Buffet's!"

    There's a local singer/songwriter that actually takes a promotional item catalog to shows. People (especially women) will spend up to 30 minutes shopping in the catalog for gift items. The whole time, they end up buying an extra CD, another key-tag, t-shirt, etc.

    Another thing he did was to work with one of the promo companies to get an online version. They evidently gave him all of the code and "back office" stuff. So all he had to do was set up the eCommerce side and he was off and running.

    When they order out of the catalog or online, he puts the buyer on the email/fan list.
    A performance is not perfect, it is passionate.

    Cultivate PASSION motherfuckers.


    Not the sample accuracy.

    The Comte
  3. #3
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Location West Chester, Ohio
    Posts 1,558
    Rep Power 536871091

    Default Re: Merchandising your band

    Great topic. We don't do much Merch, mainly I bring the swag.

    The swag that everyone wants......

    The thong with our logo on it.

    I'm not kidding. I'm out of them right now and have to order more. Even a co-owner of one bar, (he has a main job as a drag queen) wants me to get him some for his "show".

    We do have a link to our Cafepress store from our webpage, so people can get things when they want.
    Tori's Alibi

    CAPE III - Team Galactic
    CAPE IV - Team Pantheon
    CAPE V - Team Elemental & Team Milk Carton
    CAPE VI - Team Grapestomper
    CAPE VII - Team Altitude
  4. #4
    Roadside Outcast Dept. Short-rope candidate
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Location On location...
    Posts 5,067
    Rep Power 536871208

    Default Re: Merchandising your band

    I already new that merch was big money for the big artists...but I had no idea just how big until I spoke to my GF's sister. She is involved in merch for a lot of the touring shows that come through town...everything from theatrical shows to big music acts.

    Robbie Williams was just here and played 2 shows, with the other capitals to follow. Not a lot of gigs..maybe 10 give or take...
    They expect to make $15million in merch alone for this leg of the tour. Mind you, at $30 for a programme and $50-$60 for a t-shirt, it probably won' t be difficult.

    The second thing I learned was the basic unit of measurement.

    Tons.

    I shit you not.

    Not how many hundreds or thousands of t-shirts...

    How many tons.

    True economies of scale.



    My flabber has been ghasted.




    Cheers,
    Tim
    Don't forget, we are all engaged in a battle to the death against mediocrity.

    The best radio mic system that money can buy is ALMOST as good as a $20 cable.

    One of the most important things to remember about sound is:
    'Sucks' is always conducted better than 'Rules'. - Pimp-X wisdom


    Never underestimate the power of stupid - Blackie C (RIP)

    Ego and talent seldom go hand in hand... Talent and humble on the other hand... - Zoesch

    Weedy ignores this simple bit of glaring obviousness because he is an "ELECTRIC BASS GUITARIST"(coughcough)
    and views the kick drum as a "bass riff rhythmic pattern suggestion generator" - Slipperman
  5. #5
    Ducked in here to avoid the paparazzi Child Prodigy Gone Bad
    Join Date Oct 2007
    Location Columbus, Ohio
    Posts 9
    Rep Power 134217861

    Default Re: Merchandising your band

    Being one that mainly jams econo, recently I've been making t-shirts for about $3 each. They sell pretty swell mixed color, ring neck tee shirts at the drug store here for $2 each (5 for $10). I buy packs of computer print-out iron-on pages and just run our band's design off of my computer/printer. It takes a few minutes to cut each one out by hand and iron them on. But this keeps the shirts extra damn cheap. I sell them from $5-$8.

    We also have the de-rig buttons and stickers. I've thought about everything else from biker bags to thongs with our band's name, but somewhere in the back of my mind there's always fuckin' Ian from Fugazi telling me it's wrong and I'll be going directly to sell-out/straight-edge hell if I do it...
  6. #6
    Middle Handicapper...short game needs work Real purdy mouth
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Location the music room
    Posts 1,205
    Rep Power 536871080

    Default Re: Merchandising your band

    but somewhere in the back of my mind there's always fuckin' Ian from Fugazi telling me it's wrong and I'll be going directly to sell-out/straight-edge hell if I do it...
    what, you don't like to eat?

    wtf do I know...I hit mixes with sticks
  7. #7
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Location A3X
    Posts 1,848
    Rep Power 536871101

    Default Re: Merchandising your band

    ...but somewhere in the back of my mind there's always fuckin' Ian from Fugazi telling me it's wrong and I'll be going directly to sell-out/straight-edge hell if I do it...
    Naw, just don't do interviews with any mag that advertises alcohol or cigarettes. If selling merch were a bad thing, Mackaye would have written off Rollins years ago.
    You've wandered into the online audio equivalent of a Black Panther meeting, dressed like a Yuppie golfer, remarking aloud that you wonder if black people really do like fried chicken, watermelon and grape soda.
    -Slipperman

    You apparently haven't read 5% of this place and know nothing of the denizens who lurk and teach or you're just begging to have a cinder block pounded up your ass with a shovel.
    -bbkong

    Use the Hate, Love is nice to have, but Hate is more important than air.
    -dwoz
  8. #8
    Ducked in here to avoid the paparazzi Child Prodigy Gone Bad
    Join Date Oct 2007
    Location Columbus, Ohio
    Posts 9
    Rep Power 134217861

    Default Re: Merchandising your band

    what, you don't like to eat?

    For me, it takes a good cup and a half of ketchup/whiskey to get a thong down. I've never actually tried, but I don't think I could eat a whole biker bag though...
  9. #9
    Join Date Sep 2007
    Location East Glenbeckistan
    Posts 3,796
    Rep Power 536871156

    Default Re: Merchandising your band

    somewhere in the back of my mind there's always fuckin' Ian from Fugazi telling me it's wrong and I'll be going directly to sell-out/straight-edge hell if I do it...
    Ian's opinions don't count. Do what you need to do because you guys need to eat and pay your rent at the end of the day.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts