Thanks to the internet and us here at Spinnup, earning money from music without being signed is a whole lot simpler than it used to be (Spinnup being able to deliver this service in addition to having our link with Universal Music to help you get discovered and maybe signed to a record label as well. We’ll stop blowing our own trumpet now). But in addition to making money from recordings, selling merchandise is a fantastic way to grow your fanbase whilst also earning some money. Remember selling merchandise is not as simple as ‘turn up with some stuff, make a bunch of money’.
Merchandise at gigs should be more than just CDs. The more inventive you are and the more variety there is the wider you can cast your net. Many bands for example sell personalised stationary, iPhone cases, luggage tags and all sorts of other things. When somebody purchases one of these items and uses it not only are they constantly reminded of you but everyone who sees it will see your logo as well which can only be a good thing.
Unless you happen to be particularly skilled in this area yourself you will need to approach a graphic designer. Make sure you agree with each other that you are buying the right to use their designs as you want to. Do make sure you have this conversation with the designer, that’s not something you want to leave to unsaid or ‘understood’, make sure it’s clearly agreed. You can then approach a merchandise company to create the stock (make sure you’re aware of their payment terms) and then go forth and gig!
When setting up a merch table at the gig make sure that it looks good. There is a reason that supermarkets don’t just have vegetables, toilet paper, peanut butter, bacon etc piled up in an enormous cardboard box. People will feel more inclined to peruse the items if they are presented nicely. Be sure to price things cleanly, in 3s, 5s and 10s (30s, 50s and 100s in Krona). Have special offers and make it as simple and inviting as possible to buy. Should you happen to be a techno wizz and you can set up the capability to accept card payments as well as cash then this can only be a good thing.
People will hopefully see your merch stall as they are entering and leaving the building. Make sure whilst you are on stage wowing everyone with the single most incredible live performance they have ever seen (hopefully) tell them you have a merch stand. The awareness that there are things to buy immediately increases the possibility that they will.
Before having any Merch made you’re going to have to have something great to put on it. Here’s how to come up with a great band name.