Articles

Category :

Career Advice

How to Sell More Merchandise at Your Show



A Guest Post by
 Symphonic Distribution


Digital Music Distribution, sell your music online

Digital Music Distribution, sell your music onlineSelling merchandise at a show is probably one of the biggest sources of revenue that an artist has left today. It’s clear to anyone in the music industry that selling music has taken such a dramatic dive in sales that it’s almost a necessity to search and reach out for other sources of income as an artist first, with record sales second. For larger artists, their brand seems to take over everything. They become this image/icon with corporate sponsorships making large portions of their income. For the rest of the world (not top 40 radio), playing shows and selling merchandise is probably their biggest asset. So, how can you increase your revenue by selling your merchandise at your shows?

Make it Personal

Your merchandise is a direct representation of you as an artist and your music. If you aren’t involved with picking out what pieces of merch you sell or what designs you put on them, you’ve already missed the first step. Like social media or any other hands-on interactive experience, your fans want to support you and they want to know every aspect of you as a person and an artist. So if you aren’t involved in, at very least, approval of what designs you’re selling to them and giving your personal input on, why would they want to purchase it and wear it? Your merchandise should be the best combination of what you as an artist enjoy stylistically and what your fan base tends to prefer. It’s a line that a lot of artists have trouble walking. You can’t control what demographic embraces your music, so without (and I hate this term) “selling out” or completely conforming to what sells to them, you have to find that happy medium. At the same time, you can’t be always have an “art over everything” attitude and expect to sell the maximum amount of merchandise you can. It’s the line of business vs. art and every musician has to walk it at some point.

Managing Inventory

Once you have put the time in and reflected on the designs you enjoy and believe your fan base will equally enjoy and support, it’s time to sell it to them. So you’ve got a big show coming up and you just refilled on your merch supply and you want to, obviously, sell the maximum amount possible. Well, another obvious step is sizing. Do you have all sizes available? Are you keeping tabs on past sales and seeing what sells the most? I can, without a doubt, guarantee that a band like Tool is going to sell way more M-XL shirts to their fan base, as opposed to Justin Bieber who sells a majority of XS-M-sized shirts. It seems obvious, but a lot of artists just order the same amount of every size because they don’t know (or don’t pay attention) and think that makes the most sense at the time, leaving them short on certain sizes and having a surplus on sizes they aren’t going to sell.

Another tactic you should be implying is seasonal wear. While you may be able to get away with selling tank tops in a hot sweaty club in the middle of January in Boston, there’s a lot less of a chance a fan is going to be into buying a hoodie in the middle of July in Miami. “Sweet! Now I have this hoodie I can’t wear for six months!” You’re also more likely to sell those hoodies in the previous Boston scenario and make more money than you would on tank tops.

Pricing

This leads me to my next point: Pricing. Are you keeping your eyes open to what other artist are selling their merch for? If you’re selling your new T-shirt for $25 and all the other bands are selling their T-shirts for $10 at the same show, who do you think is going to make the most money in the long run? People want the most bang for their buck. Not only will you sell less but some fans might be offended by your higher-than-average prices. Sure, you spent $500 for the design on your high-quality American Apparel shirt with five colors and designs on the front, back and sleeves, but that won’t matter in the moment when fans only have $25 left and like every artist that’s playing.

It’s smart to pay for merch that you can make a profit on while keeping it affordable at the same time. You aren’t playing arenas and people won’t pay $25-$50 for a T-shirt yet, no matter how nice it is. There are creative ways to design a piece of merch and keep it affordable with regards to the artist level you’re currently at.

Display Counts

“Hey guys, we have merchandise in the back. Please check it!” I can’t count how many times I’ve heard that at shows. The simplest way to sell more merch at shows is to make people aware that it’s available. It’s so obvious, but some bands forget to mention it or think it’s too tacky to say on stage. It doesn’t come as needy, it’s part of the experience of going to a show and every artist should say it while they’re on stage, and every fan should expect to hear it. When they go back there—most likely between sets—make sure it is clean, organized and professional looking. Having something to hang certain items up, tape things neatly to the table so you don’t have to worry about a cluster-f*ck table while trying to sell. Make things simple and legible for fans like the names and prices of items. If there is a back-side design to an item, have it displayed and labeled so you don’t get asked 100 times to keep showing people.

Efficiency always increases sales. Another great selling tactic is the use of limited edition items or limited quantity. It may push a certain fan over the fence they are on about buying that item.

Sales Team

Lastly, and one of the most important aspects of selling merch whether it’s you, a friend, or someone you are paying, is to make sure they are outgoing, friendly and organized. Not everyone is suitable to deal with people. Add to the fact a lot of people may be drunk, sweaty and rude coming in mass numbers, and you have a pretty solid recipe for disaster if you’re not the type of person that can handle it. If you are paying someone, take the time to go back to the merch table and check on him or her, or get feedback from a random third party. They are representing YOU! If they come off as an ass, it will be associated with you. Also make them count in and count out items. I’ve seen more than a few merch people in my day steal from their artist or jack up prices on their items and pocket the extra because the artist wasn’t involved with the merch situation to know any better.

Hopefully these tips will help you out in maximizing your profitability at your shows. There’s no secret recipe for success in the merchandise world, but the more you are organized and involved in it as an artist, the more you will sell.

 

By: Grant Brandell
Service & Product Sales Manager for Symphonic Distribution
grant@symphonicdistribution.com



Symphonic Distribution was launched in the winter of 2006 by a Music Producer from Tampa, Florida. The company was launched with the intention of providing new and established record labels cost effective digital distribution to retailers such as iTunes, Beatport, Rhapsody, Amazon, and more with a strong emphasis on customer satisfaction. By the end of 2007, the company

struck agreements with over 250 record labels, and improved its offerings to include additional services such as Mastering, Marketing, Label/Artist Development, and more.




Check out Music Clout’s list of Gigs and Music Festivals currently looking for artists to book.


banner4-1.jpg





5 Mistakes to Avoid When Preparing Your Demo

Everything You Need to Know About Branding

How to Sell More Music as an Unsigned Artist

Musicians, the gig economy, and online learning... a happy (but dysfunctional) family.

If You Want to be a Recording Artist You Need the Right Development

15 Things You Must Do to Make it in the Music Industry

Saying no to everything else

Managing Expectations

Consistency Equals Success

How To Get Better: Practice

Separate The Emotion From The Event

Turn it down a few notches, please!

Are You Taking Ownership Of Your Songwriting Success?

The Shawshank Songwriter

Show Me Your Songwriting Friends, And I'll Show You Your Future

Getting out of a bad place

Taking your Music From a Hobby to a Career

How to change or build your career

CHOOSING THE PERFECT BAND NAME

4 important qualities of a band manager

Touring Advantages/Disadvantages From Less Than Jake

What musicians can learn from Joan Rivers

What you can learn from Bob Dylan's Career

Yes You're Talented, But Remember This…

Two Things That You Can Do to Start Making Music Industry Contacts Today

Promoting Music Internationally – The Right Way

How To Reach The Best Music Business Contacts. Period.

4 Ways To Be A Boss A$$ Indie Artist

Are you over looking this strategy to becoming a better musician

Why You Should Be Doing House Shows

It's All of Your Business

Don't Buy Your Own Tunes

What If You Didn't Need Money or Attention?

Why Bands Need to Stop Bitching

What's In Your Toolbox?

Why You Need a Live Music Producer (And Don't Even Know It)

Many Eggs, Many Baskets: How to Make a Living as a Musician in 2014

Your Music is Just a Hobby. So What? Part 1 of TBD

Defining Success And How To Achieve It With A Career In Music

Why Talent Isn't Enough

Why You Need Your Own Superhero Alter-Ego

How To Make It In The Music Industry

What If The Label Says "YES"?

How to Avoid Artistically Starving to Death

20 Worst Indie Artist Mistakes

Why Your Most Important Tool In Being A Successful Indie Musician Might Actually Be Your Day Job

The Importance of Branding as Recording Artists

Why Bad Days Can Do You A World Of Good

How To Tell If You Need Singing Lessons

How To Ruin Your Music Career In 10 Easy Steps – Part 2 (Steps 6-10)

How to Stay Motivated to Make Music

The Self-Promotion Tactic that Fails Every Time

3 Important Lessons In Success From Bob Dylan

Sell 1000 CD's In a Weekend

Music Licensing – 90 Day Challenge

Superfans: The Key to a Sustainable Music Career

A Solution To The DIY Artists Biggest Challenge

How To Ruin Your Music Career In 10 Easy Steps – Part 1 (Steps 1-5)

What to Look For In A Distributor

Does 99% of Jazz Suck? – The Jazz Kickstarter That Seduced 870 Backers

Are You Making These 9 Band Rehearsal Mistakes?

Enhancing Your Music Marketing: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Press Kits for Musicians

7 Important Aspects to Getting Noticed in the Music World

7 Tactics to Double the Size of Your Fanbase

Why The Vocals On Your Track Are Vitally Important And How You Can Improve Them

Top 3 Tips To Find The Right Singing Teacher

Some Will Always Say You're Wrong

That Time'n Thang

Leap Of Faith

Showtime

Question & Doubt

Eat Lighting

Connecting With People In The Industry

Five Reasons You're Not Licensing More Music

The Importance Of Following Up In The Music Licensing Business

How To Fund Your Band's Kickstarter When You Have No Fan Base

Human Intervention as a Competitive Advantage

A Quick & Dirty Guide to Branding

Why it Pays to Replace Self-Promotion with Selflessness

Rules for Confronting a Difficult Band Member

Valuable To Others, or Only You?

It's All Who You Know?

Ignore Your Website & Social Networks and Your Career Will Suffer

Three Intelligent Ways to Make a Living as a Musician

What Musicians Should Carry at all Times

Sometimes Big Promo Doesn't Work

Avoid Band Drama: Be Up Front

How To Effectively Handle A Flaky Band Member

Why No One Is Listening To Your Music

Establish Your Blueprint

How To Avoid Serious Mistakes When Choosing An Agent

Managing The Fear of The Unknown In The Music Industry

How To Balance A Family, Your Music Career, And Your Stresses

MusicPreneur - The New Music Industry Mindset

Band Leading 202 - Gigs

How Does An Independent Artist Stay Relevant While Creating New Music?

What It Takes To Be A Successful DIY Independent Artist

Band Leading 101 - Rehearsal

How To Make Lots Of Money Selling Your Merchandise

Why You Need Great Pictures As An Artist

Overnight Success - Does That Happen?

The Power of Positive Thinking

Goal Setting Tips That Work

Easy Tips For Engaging Your Fans

Getting Things Done As A Team

4 Common Newsletter Mistakes You Should Avoid

Creating Your Social Media Image

Effectively Utilize Your Youtube Music Videos

Tips For Building A Bigger Fanbase

How To Build A Professional Music Team

The Top 5 Ways To Get Noticed in Today's Music Industry

Why Radio Spins Matter And Tips On How To Get Them

Networking Essentials For The Music Business

Why You Should Be On Pinterest

Signup Free