If you want to sell merch, it’s not enough that you make wonderful designs, you gotta know some basic band merch statistics!
Merchandise has been a great help to numerous people from different fields of business, but most especially the music industry.
With music streaming becoming the norm of today’s generation, musicians’ revenue for physical album releases have been decreasing every year.
The sad thing is that royalties from streaming is too cheap. It takes 3,114 plays on Spotify for you to earn minimum wage in the US. And god knows how hard it is to even get 1,000 plays in a month.
That’s why band merchandise has become extremely important for musicians. If done right, you can get even more revenue from merch than from album sales.
[BTW, if you’re planning to make on-demand merch items that you can order one piece at a time, and delivered straight to your fans as if you’re the one sending them, go to our sister company swaggin.com]
HOW MERCHANDISE HELPS YOU
To put it bluntly: It’s a good source of income.
You can get a couple to hundreds of thousands of dollars per t-shirt or mug design if you promote it well.
But it doesn’t end there. Another thing is its promotional advantage that helps the artist or business market their service or product. A person who buys your merch and wears it is basically a walking ad.
These advantages depend on how you utilize them of course because a merch may or may not attract people’s attention.
It still depends on what merch you release and if it’s truly worth spending money on.
MERCH STATISTICS AND DATA YOU SHOULD KNOW
This is how merch stats and data enter the game.
Many musicians forget to consider data and instead focus on designs and the artistic side of it resulting in a failed promotional custom band merch release and more-expense-less-revenue situation.
Merch statistics help musicians and people in business to know what merch type sells well to the masses.
It can even present what price range is best for a certain merch product which helps them decide on a production plant that meets their standards and price range.
With all the talk I did with merch statistics, let me present some past statistics and data based on musician merch releases.
A disclaimer though, the sets of data to be presented are from 2014 and 2017 so they may not be as relevant as before.
Source: Indie on the Move (Original: Jakprints), 2017
The graph above shows the merch item’s average profit margin, something that you need to know, especially for those who’re just starting custom band merch releases.
What is the profit margin?
For people who’re just delving into the world of business, this can be quite a headache.
The margin is a ratio or percentage of the profit generated for each dollar sale. But to explain it simply, profit margin helps us know how much of a business’ total sales are actually being kept by the company.
With statistics like this, you can identify what merch items have low expenses while having high margins. Just like the two items, stickers and patches, you can easily rule out that they are low-expensed merchandise since they’re small. With a very high margin like that, it would be great to sell merch like that.
But only deciding based on profit margin is quite risky. So I suggest you also try to know the level of demand of these items. Knowing both will greatly aid in having the best decision on what to sell and how you will sell them.
The best combo is when you find merch items with high profit margin and high demand. That’s like hitting a jackpot!
Long Sleeve Shirt
Long Sleeve Shirt
Source: atVenu, 2014
The data shown above is composed of the top three merch items that make up most of each genre’s revenue. With this data, both atVenu and musicians know what merch item to double productions.
Though this may be from 7 years ago, you can still study this data and know what fans of a certain genre want.
MAKE YOUR OWN MERCH STATS AND DATA
There has been no recent merch stats and data published by any company or business people so I suggest you make your own. But stats and data like that would only be very helpful to you. Other musicians can infer from your data but it would not be as helpful as it is to you.
If you’ve been releasing merch recently then you already have reliable bases for your merch stats.
It would be very helpful to know what merch items did great and what did not. Moreover, you could compare stats from different releases which will point out what merch revenues are consistent and which are fluctuating.
If you want to start production for a new merch item then having your own stats for it will surely help you decide on continuing or stopping production, and increasing or decreasing the number of merch items.
TIPS WHEN ADDING ITEMS TO YOUR MERCH TABLE
Check the items’ demand
Go check statistics and data. Learn from your previous sales or other band’s sales. Knowing an item’s demand will help you decide on taking the risk or not.
If you want to test it out, you may also check its demand by ordering a short-run of the merch, maybe a hundred or so units will be best to know if it has a low or high demand from your fans.
Hey, we do short run vinyl pressing and more!
Another way is to have a pre-order period on your website, where fans can pre-order and you can have an exact number to order from your supplier.
Know what your fans want
For you to know what your fans want, you can actually ask them directly about it. Fans love communicating with their favorite artists.
With all the social media sites available, it would be easier to communicate. And if you have a mailing list, you can use that too.
Consider giving them away or having them in package deals
If you’re thinking of adding a cheap item, then you can have them as give away merch instead or have them added to a package.
Let’s say you want to add stickers, then you can add them to your CDs or vinyl albums, or maybe to your already existing package.
There’s a lot of things merch stats can help you with, not just with the type of merch you can produce and release, but also what type of designs would attract a certain music genre fan.
So if you’re planning to or have been releasing merch items, then I suggest you utilize them or make your own. Data is power.
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD, custom vinyl records and merch company in LA.