#1
My band has been around for 6 years now and now that we've gotten real serious and started having gigs every month we decided now is a good time to get some merchandise. We already have one CD release but it was recorded really fast and a long time ago so its bad quality and everything so we give those out for free when, and if, we have them.

We are currently recording a full length, good quality album which we plan on selling for $5 or so, maybe. Thats what brings on this question.

When you go see a local band, and they have there good ol' merch table, what are you more willing to buy?

Here's a list of what i've seen so far (i'll also give you what my band rates as what we think would be good):

-T-shirts (This is what we're leaning towards)
-CDs (This is 3rd place)
-Custom "Livestrong" Wristbands (2nd place)
-Stickers (Any band we see gives these out for free, we cant afford to do that)
-Pins (Ditto)
-Posters (who wants a poster of people that aren't well known??)

We also had these ideas:
-Basketball Jerseys (too pricey)
-Shorts (ditto)
-Hats (ditto)
-Watches, like cheapo digital kind, but again who would buy them?? haha

So out of all those options (or come up with your own) what would you wanna buy from a local band??
Guitar Rig:
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Martin GPCPA5
Orange Rockerverb 50

Bass Rig:
Squier Vintage Modified Jazz V
Hartke HA3500
#2
I'v got a shirt at every show I've been to. I'd go with that
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#3
Why not get a set of custom guitar picks printed with band details on them, then at the end of a show go about and throw them out to the crowd
And yes agree with soulsablaze shirts are a good idea
#5
I would go with shirts.

Also, giving out picks isn't that bad/expensive of an idea. IntuneGP charges 40$ for 144 picks with any shape, thickness and design you want. I would go for it. It's also really fun to be able to say you caught the guitarist's pickat a concert and have proof. Pick Pricing
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#8
Quote by mrsixstrings12
We are currently recording a full length, good quality album which we plan on selling for $5 or so, maybe. Thats what brings on this question.


Woah woah slow down there cowboy! $5 for a full length album? It costs me $2,000-$3,000 to record a 5 track EP, let alone an album. I sell EPs for $10 each.

What quality is this album? Is it a professional job or just an at-home playing around job? The last thing you really want to do is sell fans a half-assed product.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#9
Shirts and Cds are probably your best two options. My bands workin on making shirts at the moment
CRAB NICHOLSON
#10
If I buy anything, chances are 80% it will be a CD, and 20% that it will be a shirt. I don't bother with anything else.

I would expect stickers to be free.

I'm going to second AlanHB's questions. But just to add... you can afford to give away CD's, and then you're planning on selling a full-length album for only $5. How can you afford to do THAT when you can't afford to give away stickers??!!

I really think you need to re-evaluate your price points.

Assuming it is a "proper" CD, you should sell it for probably no less than $10. I'll elaborate more on that after you answer Alan's and my question. Stickers should be given away. There's a start.

CT
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#11
look into packaging some things together. Buy a shirt for $10, buy a cd for $10, get both for $15, people like feeling like they are getting deals on items.

I would sell as many different items as you can, shirts and cd's are of course going to be your prime sellers, but at the same time have something a little different that still might drive some sales. I like the idea of posters, get a graphic designer from a local college to design you a cool looking image (hopefully for free) and then just put your band name on there somewhere. I'd buy a cool looking poster if I saw one. I have all sorts of weird and random posters on my walls that I thought were cool and purchased.
#12
On posters, noone will buy them.
Even at larger band's gigs you don't see people buying them if they're available.
If they're that into you, they'll just tear town the promotional poster for that gig that'll be at the venue (if there is one) and take that with them. (I've known many people do this, and did this myself once because a band member came up to me saying he expects someone will steal the poster before the end of the night...noone did so I felt bad for them and took it).

I think AlanHB and Axemanchris have got this one handled (as usual!) but to give my input, I wouldn't really focus on anything but CDs and t-shirts.

mean, if you get yourself some picks/drumstick/whatever made that you throw out to the crowd at the end (providing it's a big enough crowd of course) that might be cool, but in terms of selling stuff noone really buys anything but CDs or t-shirt.
#13
In terms of posters - they're a real hassle to sell at gigs. You need to pay up front for the posters (probably quite a lot, most places won't print very small runs without an outrageous markup), you need to pay for those cardboard tubes to protect them, and then you need somewhere safe to keep them at the gig, because they're quite bulky.

Pin badges are easy to get made, cheap to front the costs for, and you can sell them for $0.50 or $1, which should easily make you 100% profit.

The problem with T-shirts is that they're quite expensive to get made (that is, if we're talking decent quality materials properly printed, rather than home-made ones). That means you need to sell them at a relatively high price even to recoup your costs, and - tbh - even bands I really like, I probably wouldn't buy a $20 t-shirt from. Keep the costs of your merch low for now - a rule of thumb is 'never more expensive than a ticket to the gig'.
#14
Thanks for everyones input!

To answer the questions and to clarify some things. The CDs we gave away only once at a show an never made more cause Of how crappy they were. The CDS were doing now are being recorded at home but are better quality than a lot of my friends bands who have spent about $1000 recording them. Myself, my brother, and his friend who went to school for recording are all working on the album and we plan on getting it professionally mastered. I also have some ins with local printing places to get them cheaply printed. That's how we can afford to sell them for $5.

Responding to samzawadi, there is this local band who got shirts made from custom ink, they were about $12 eachfor them who have sold all there stock for $20 a shirt. Don't ask me how cause I think that utterly ridiculous. Like I said previously I have ins with a local print shop and can get my shirts made fr about $5 each an plan on selling them for $10, maybe $8
Guitar Rig:
Fender Telecaster
Martin GPCPA5
Orange Rockerverb 50

Bass Rig:
Squier Vintage Modified Jazz V
Hartke HA3500
#15
Oh I forgot the CDs we gave away. There were only 25 of them we made, with cheap cd sleeves. No label or anything so the total cost was like $20 or something. But like I said we only did it for that night only. We planned on selling them for like $2 but we had a good show and an awesome crowd so just said screw it and handed them to everyone just to get rid of them lol
Guitar Rig:
Fender Telecaster
Martin GPCPA5
Orange Rockerverb 50

Bass Rig:
Squier Vintage Modified Jazz V
Hartke HA3500
#16
Quote by mrsixstrings12
The CDS were doing now are being recorded at home but are better quality than a lot of my friends bands who have spent about $1000 recording them. Myself, my brother, and his friend who went to school for recording are all working on the album and we plan on getting it professionally mastered. I also have some ins with local printing places to get them cheaply printed. That's how we can afford to sell them for $5.


If you honestly think that your album is worth more than those which cost thousands to produce, then why not charge the proper value for them. $15-$20.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#17
I say figure out the cost of making the CDs, give yourself a decent profit margin, and see how it goes. I think 15-20 is a ridiculously high price, personally.
#18
Quote by Zycho
I say figure out the cost of making the CDs, give yourself a decent profit margin, and see how it goes. I think 15-20 is a ridiculously high price, personally.


I guess it depends on your local prices. In Australia $15-$20 is a perfectly acceptable price for a full length album.

I'll give you a rundown anyway for my local prices. Let's say we have an album of 12 songs.

Recording and Mixing ($500/track)

$500 x 12 tracks = $6,000

Mastering $1,000 for full album (discount from $100/track)

CD Replication + Professional Printing CD Jewel Case (Minimum amount 500 copies)

$800

So in total it costs $6,000 + $1,000 + $800 = $7,800 to make 500 copies of an album ready for radio play.

$7,800 divided by 500 = $15.60

You can see why you wouldn't want to charge less than $15 for it.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#19
-T-shirts (you should have t-shirts, if you do you instantly gain some credibility, if you don't you lose some)

-CDs (duh. you should have your music available, always)

-Custom "Livestrong" Wristbands (personally i would never buy these)

-Stickers (stickers are mad cheap, and at least i've found them to be cheaper than 'livestrong' wristbands)

-Pins (these are way cheap too and you can sell a pack of three or five for like five bucks, i've seen this hundreds of times)

-Posters (who wants a poster of people that aren't well known?? simple noone if you suck, however if you kick ass then they won't have a problem buying it.)

basically what it boils down to is if you suck then only the t-shirt might move, if people decide to buy it before they hear you, however if you are good at playing your own music, and you should be, then any of these will sell.

another thing you should think about is if someone buys the wrist band or a poster, thats great, however pins stickers and especially tshirts are at least 10x better because they are paying you to be able to advertise your band. think about it, they walk around school the mall hell even just down the city street wearing your t shirt it's like a freakin moving billboard, and the pins are more of an upclose thing as well but people wil usually see them, how often do you look and see what is written on a wristband, and how many people end up seeing the poster in your room? now think about how many times you read the bumper sticker on the car infront of you, or read the t shirt of that obnoxious teen in the mall, or noticed pins on someones hat jacket or backpack while you were standining in a checkout line or at the dmv or something.... all of it is advertisement, and you aren't even paying for it...
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#20
I wasn't generalizing and sayin mine was better than EVERY album haha. 3 local bands which I'm good friends with went to studios and spent over $1000 on an album and have no problem selling them for like $10 and over. And they all are awful quality. So why would I have a problem selling a better product for less?

Also, it might just be my town or something, but those livestrong bracelets sell like mofos around here, and also its always everyones business to find out what your new bracelet is supporting so we've decided on those, the shirts, and CDs.

We alsO had some new ideas of custom lanyards and carabiners since alot of people use them for keys and whatnot. What do you guys think about this?
Guitar Rig:
Fender Telecaster
Martin GPCPA5
Orange Rockerverb 50

Bass Rig:
Squier Vintage Modified Jazz V
Hartke HA3500
#21
Mr.6

If you play a lot of festivals, you can't beat Frisbees. They sell great and are fun to fling into the crowd.

Rock on, Brother!

Dish
#22
Quote by mrsixstrings12
I wasn't generalizing and sayin mine was better than EVERY album haha. 3 local bands which I'm good friends with went to studios and spent over $1000 on an album and have no problem selling them for like $10 and over. And they all are awful quality. So why would I have a problem selling a better product for less?


Well from a consumer standpoint, would you say that a $10 shoe is better than a $5 shoe?

The same principle applies to music. If you go to a CD store, do you immediately rush for the bargain bin albums or seek out an artist that you'd rather listen to? Would you pay $10 for an artist you like rather than $5 for one you don't?

If you truely think that your album is better than the other ones, you should charge an equivalent price.

BTW $1000 is an extremely cheap price for an album. It was probably a couple of live takes on each song, and mixing, no mastering.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#23
I totally get why you're saying man. Ill post you links to this one band an toucan listen to their "studio quality" album that they recently recorded and sell for $10 and then you can listen to one of my songs and see exactly what I mean. I'll post them once I get out of school
Guitar Rig:
Fender Telecaster
Martin GPCPA5
Orange Rockerverb 50

Bass Rig:
Squier Vintage Modified Jazz V
Hartke HA3500
#24
Here's one of the example bands:
http://www.myspace.com/thetrabajas

Here's my band:
http://www.reverbnation.com/theessentialspa

i know obviously our styles are different. But the quality of their music is OBVIOUSLY worse than ours. They spent well over $1000 recording their album and sell it for $10. We spent close to nothing other than prices for getting them printed and maybe mastering and have a wayy better product than them, imo.
Guitar Rig:
Fender Telecaster
Martin GPCPA5
Orange Rockerverb 50

Bass Rig:
Squier Vintage Modified Jazz V
Hartke HA3500
#25
Quote by mrsixstrings12
Here's one of the example bands:
http://www.myspace.com/thetrabajas

Here's my band:
http://www.reverbnation.com/theessentialspa

i know obviously our styles are different. But the quality of their music is OBVIOUSLY worse than ours. They spent well over $1000 recording their album and sell it for $10. We spent close to nothing other than prices for getting them printed and maybe mastering and have a wayy better product than them, imo.


For a start, having that attitude is not great if you wish to have a career in music.

Personally I actually prefer the other band's music over yours, but in the recordings yours does have a better production. For both bands there are parts of every song where the band is not in time with each other, and it starts to get messy. I would opt to use the recordings for demos rather than selling them.

Perhaps Axemanchris can comment further on the recordings from there. He actually has his own studio and could point out exactly what is going wrong with both.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#26
I've always found the best way is to start with shirts and give away a free CD with each shirt.

Let's say, for example, that you have found a place that will provide and print 100 shirts for £300, general rule of thumb is to double the cost of each shirt to ascertain it's sale value, that way, you make the money that it's cost you to have them made back, and it also provides the finance for the next batch of shirts, (the sale of the second batch is when you start making profit, more on the second batch later) so that makes a sale price of £6 for the shirt.

CDs are generaly much cheaper to produce (after recording costs) than shirts. Get enough made and you can easily get that cost down to £1 per CD. Double it (for the same reasons given with the shirts above) and add that to the price of the shirt and you get £8 per shirt, not mega cheap, but still fairly cheap for a shirt, but this one comes with a 'free CD'.
If you price CDs for sale seperately at £5, (Still a reasonable price for a CD so you'll probably sell a few that way as well, at extra profit) your punter will do some quick maths and decide that the shirt with a free CD is indeed a 'bargain'. And people like bargains.

This way, they are much more likely to buy a shirt and a CD off you for double the price they both cost to have made than if you had them both on sale seperately for double the price they cost to have made.

So, the punter now has your CD and a nice big advert on his chest. Now for a bit of psychology.
For some reason, once someone has seen a band and bought their shirt and a CD, they often consider themselves as a 'fan', it's actualy something they convince themselves of. The shirt and CD may have been bought on a half drunken whim because the band was OK but the shirt and CD were a bargin, but because he's seen the band and bought the shirt and owns the CD, he'll probably come to consider himself as a 'fan'.
His mates will see the advert/shirt and ask about the band. The guy has a CD so he plays it for them or lends it to them, and because he's now a 'fan', he'll have nothing but praise for you and actualy push the band, creating more 'fans' (because people are often sheep, which is why fashions work ) who will in turn come to your gigs and buy themselves a shirt with a free CD
It is free, self perpetuating, advertising.

Without the shirt/advert, there's less chance he'll end up playing the CD for others, without the CD, there's no chance of him playing it for others, without either, he will probably never consider himself a fan, to him, you will probably just have been one band out of hundreds of forgetful bands that he's seen in his local venue, so it makes sense that you really want the punter to buy both the shirt and the CD.

Doing it this way gets your name around and helps to quickly build up a good following, which in turn gets you better gigs (because people who run venues take note of the size of followings that bands are getting elsewhere) which in turn brings you bigger followings and more sales.
It also creates a self sufficient side line in merchandising, once the second batch of CDs and shirts are both selling, you split the money you get for them into two halves, half will finance the next batch, the other half is pure profit.


But how do you keep it going? Well obviously by bringing out new CDs and new shirt designs of course, but it takes time to record new material and come up with good shirt designs and your audience may still be quite limited, there comes a time when sales start flagging but you've nothing new to replace them with... and surely once someone has bought the shirt, they're not going to buy another with the same design are they?
Oh yes they are, because on the next batch, you introduce a different coloured shirt with a different coloured print on it. It hasn't cost you any extra to have a new screen made up, it's the same design, just a different colour, and if you now sell them seperately from the CDs for £6, the 'fan' will buy the shirt because he's a 'fan' so he will naturaly want to collect the variables and also because he considers it to be £2 cheaper than the last shirt he bought off you, even though it's actualy the same price.

Obviously you still need to be regularly releasing new CDs and shirt designs but this method will bring in extra revenue with no extra costs from the same merchandise.

Of course, once you have a huge following and are doing regular national tours in large venues promoting your latest recording, you can easily sell the shirts and CDs seperately for twice the money, but this is a method of using merchandise to get you to that position.
#27
I would seriously get little 1" buttons made with your logo on them. You can get a ton of them for a minimal investment and be able to sell and make profit off of them by selling them for $0.75-$1.

Rubber bracelets (the livestrong ones you talked about) are also a great thing to sell. They're rather cheap, which means you can sell them for cheap too.

In my experience, small or local bands will mostly be selling t-shirts, 1" buttons, rubber bracelets, and their music if they have any. You need to set yourself apart with more novelty merchandise too. For example...

If you have any daytime outdoor shows scheduled for this summer, get some cheap sunglasses that have your name or logo printed on the arms. Link ---> http://www.usimprints.com/store/summer-promo-items/product/hitgreen-tm-rubberized-sunglasses-made-of-recycled-material/

If you have teenage fans, these will sell as quickly as the cold drinks at the concession stands.

Another way to make some good money is to host your own gig. There is a small amount of up-front cost for food and drinks to sell, but if you can find a place that is willing to let you use their space for free, and get some other bands that will draw people in, then it's totally worth it, and rather fun as well.
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#28
Quote by Natrone


If you have any daytime outdoor shows scheduled for this summer, get some cheap sunglasses that have your name or logo printed on the arms. Link ---> http://www.usimprints.com/store/summer-promo-items/product/hitgreen-tm-rubberized-sunglasses-made-of-recycled-material/

If you have teenage fans, these will sell as quickly as the cold drinks at the concession stands.

Another way to make some good money is to host your own gig. There is a small amount of up-front cost for food and drinks to sell, but if you can find a place that is willing to let you use their space for free, and get some other bands that will draw people in, then it's totally worth it, and rather fun as well.


We thought about the sunglasses. Were kinda iffy on them haha. Maybe we'll give it a try at one of our outdoor shows this summer.

And i must say, as simple as your other point is, i have never thought about it haha. It sound like an awesome idea though now that youve brought it up. Our last show was very problematic so we didnt advertise at all and managed to draw around 30 people. The place we had it at you get half the door. On to your point, if we made all the door that night we'd have enough to get our shirts AND cds. Half, we barely got enough for one haha We'll definitely be giving this a try soon. Just gotta find a house to trash. muahahaha lol
Guitar Rig:
Fender Telecaster
Martin GPCPA5
Orange Rockerverb 50

Bass Rig:
Squier Vintage Modified Jazz V
Hartke HA3500