Bands today make more money off their merchandise then their music. So you basically have the music selling a clothing line.
I must have heard that on a random website, because I dreamed about a music business lady telling me that the other night. That means I either need to share this info with you, or eat less spicy chili before bed.
Anyway, Merch is important. Good merch sales can get you through a tour and can help spread your music in ways you can’t imagine. Every time I see a band’s t-shirt I not only think of the band, but if the shirt is cool enough I will check out the bands music. That’s instant advertising for you. The people who buy your shirts are your truest fans, they are your tribe. Keep your tribe happy, have good gear.
Here are some online Merch stores where you can sell your wares. Like the where to put Your Music Online tab, this is an evolving section. If you have any suggestions or comments let us know.
Big Cartel is a good introduction to online merch. They provide you with an online store front where you can sell your shirts. Big Cartel doesn’t fulfill your orders, meaning you still have to send your shirts away, but Big Cartel doesn’t charge you a thing.
You need to have a PayPal Business account and there is a limit of 100 products, but for most bands that’s plenty of product. Once again Big Cartel does not take a percentage of your product sales. Normal PayPal fees apply, but other then that you should be walking away with most of your cash in hand. Not a bad deal at all.
MerchLackey.com is a little different then other online merch stores because they are a full-service merchandising and licensing company. That means that MerchLackey does printing, tour service, wholesale, and e-commerce for bands. They have an extensive product list, and seem like they’ll offer more if you ask.
Signing up requires you to make contact with someone and MerchLackey, which means that you need to be serious about your merch. How much this costs you, most likely depends on the services you want MerchLackey to provide. Check it out for yourself.
District Lines.com is another full-services merchandising and licensing company. Sign up and they’ll contact you to go over details. District Lines offers 2 options for stocking your merch. You can print it with them or send them your merch and they’ll send it away for you. You get a paid at the end of the month if you’ve sold something and they offer stats and sales reports. It sounds like a standard deal. Check them out for yourself.
MerchDirect.com is a big industry player in the merch world. For bands just starting out we would recommend that you go with something smaller. Yet if you want to play with the big boys this is the place. According to their website MerchDirect provides design, production and distribution. This means that they not only do in-house screen printing, embroidery, and online store management, but they do concert and tour staffing! Yeah, big band stuff. If your ready for this step then you get a gold star. Check it out and if your ready for them def go for it.
The angle Merch Now are taking is the quick turn around during a tour. The website claims that a 2-or-3-day turnaround can make the difference in keeping a tour profitable and they indicate that their shipping department is well versed in talking to clubs and promoters to make sure your order gets where it needs to, when it’s supposed to. Sounds good. This could be an option if you find your self on the road and running low on girly tees. Check them out.
So that’s a start. We’ll be adding more as we hear about them. If you have any favourite merch distributors send them our way.
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