Modern music fans will typically get their music online either legally or illegally. Some are even too lazy to download music- they just transfer music files from their friends’ USBs or phones or whatever. Some are simply okay with listening to music videos on YouTube. We can’t blame them. Why would they pay for music when they can have it for free?
So where do bands get their money? Bands are now relying most of their income from live performances and merchandise. They go on tours and bring goodies for their super fans. No band will survive with just music alone.
If you have a band and it’s your first time to tour, here is a list of merch that you should bring:
Tees. A good-quality tee with a good-looking print is what you need if you want your tees to sell. Do not just print your band picture on the tee- try to be creative because you’re trying to make a statement shirt. Graphic shirts are very effective for branding. You should remember that people buy band tees not only because they love the band but also because they actually love the look of the shirt. It is possible that they will buy ugly tees if it’s from a very popular band. And it’s also possible that they’ll buy a tee from an unknown band if it has a very impressive design. But I think it’s not likely that they’ll buy an ugly tee from an unknown band. You should also consider putting your shirts in awesome t-shirt packaging.
Dropcards. Download cards are the in thing for bands on tour. They’re very, very easy to transport, people love them, and they don’t cost that much. But that means, they won’t sell that much, either. The advantage of dropcards is that it can double as a business card and it has this modern appeal. You can even customize your dropcards and make it look like a dog tag/ pendant. Here are some ways you can promote your band using drop cards.
Candies. Or any edible goodie. Could be lollipops (like the Beatstreak lollies), chips, whatever. Just make sure your packaging looks really good. Put your logo and play with the text. Make sure it’s quirky and fun. If you don’t want to spend lots of dollars in manufacturing your goodies, you can make home-made ones like cupcakes with your QR code, cookies, etc. Just make sure it looks really interesting or else they’d think you’re a total sell-out which you won’t probably like.
Stickers. Decal stickers are still collected by many. It’s a classic and it’s cheap. If you are still a newbie, you can have your logo but make sure you put your band’s name as well. You can even give it away for free as a marketing strategy.
Buttons. People still love buttons. It’s safe, it’s cheap, it’s fast, it’s easy to make. Here are other kick-ass promotional items that can be made for less than $5.
CDs. There’s a decline in CD sales but people still buy CDs especially during tours. People who watch your gigs are your super fans or super fans of your genre. You just cannot not bring CDs. And while you’re at it, make sure you put your CDs in a really creative CD packaging.
Posters. You might think “how cliche!” but what can we do, people still look for posters during tours. And there are so many ways you can make a really creative poster—take inspiration from these interactive posters.
Novelty items. If you can afford it, you can go as crazy as The White Stripes. They sell mini record players during tours. If you don’t have budget for really expensive stuff, then settle for other quirky items like customized flash drives, picture books, paper dolls, etc.
These are the people who are willing to make big efforts to listen to your music. Why, these are not the guys who’d rather just click and shuffle to listen to your music. These guys the guys who are willing to drive all the way to wherever you are, fall in line to get your tickets, and are more than happy to have a sleepless night just to be with you. Give them something worth collecting and they’ll buy it.
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