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Merch Basics Every Musician Should Know


Because of the decrease of CD sales caused by the easy access of ‘free’ music, musicians try to find more ways to earn money to support their music and to pay for their apartments. Merch is probably the biggest earner right now for most musicians. It is what usually fuels musicians with their tours, their music, and maybe even some of their groceries.

However, some musicians do not give enough importance to merch because some of them think that it’s just shirts and that they should focus on other important aspects of music making. Some musicians also feel that they’re lesser artists if they start to sell merch. But let’s face it. Music has to generate money in order to survive. Well, unless of course, if you have a silver spoon in your mouth or your parents saved up enough money to give you a trust fund.

Merch is essential for bands to survive thus it should be given enough attention. Music Merch is simple in a way that basically, all you’re doing is making t-shirts, mugs, or key chains.  But if you want your merch to be a hit to the fans, then do not just give them a cheap-looking shirt with a lousy design. You complain that it makes you less of an artist but why don’t you just extend your art to your merch! People would know if you put a little love to your products or if you just let some guy do everything for you.

There are many different elements of Merch from design of the actual products to management. When it comes to the product, it is necessary for the artists to get to know their audiences better. They should know the demographic’s taste when it comes to colors, fit, design, cut, etc. For metal bands, fans would most likely prefer black than any other color. But that is rather easy to tell. What about for electronic pop, punk-rock, or triphop musicians? What kind of shirts would sell to them? Or do these kinds of fans even like shirts? We know it is not as simple as printing the band’s faces on just any garment.

So how will you know which designs would sell? I honestly think you can never predict that especially if this is your first time to sell merch. You will just find out which ones sell and which ones don’t the moment you start…well, actually selling them. But if you want to have an idea about your fans’ taste because you do not want to produce thousands only to sell a few pieces, you can create designs and post them on your website. Ask the visitors to vote which ones they’d like to wear. This would somehow give you an idea as to which ones you can print.

Once you’ve printed the shirts and other collectibles, take them with you whenever you are in tour. You have to place them in a merch table and make sure they look attractive on the merch table-make sure there’s good lighting, make sure the merch are wonderfully lined-up on the table. Of course, you have to let the fans know that you’re selling merch by announcing it onstage when you’re performing-in between songs, maybe. Do not be shy about it. You have to earn to make music. Accept it and be proud. It would also help you attract more fans if you sit down on the merch table for some autograph signing. At the very least, they’d purchase your shirts if they haven’t brought anything to have your autograph signed on. Good Luck!

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