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Do’s and Don’ts of Music Merchandising – Spotify for Artists


Whether you’re a new artist starting out, an established band traveling around the world or a legacy work of reconstruction and the most hit tour award, your visual identity will always be a key part of your success. This means not only what you wear on stage, in videos or photographs, but also the products you provide to your fans. Samantha Roy, an A&R executive at Manhead March, knows all about the ups and downs of T-shirts, hoodies and other attractive tacky lighters, coffee mugs, etc. – you might see at a March table.

After working at an estate management company where he helped manage commodity lines The doors, Janis Joplin, And Village Person, Ray went directly to music merchandising and now works with such artists Billy Idol, Death metal aggl, And Willie NelsonIts weed company, the Willis Reserve – all of which he brought to Manhead. (Manhead also handles products for choice Wizard, Panic! At the disco, And Fall out boy, Among many other artists.)

We wanted March advice for bands of all levels. Here is what he told us.

Do: Stay true to your identity, but give your fans what they want.

“You want your merchant line to be authentic as a musician and for your vision of the world,” Ray says. “And more importantly, almost, what your fan base wants. I think a lot of artists try to make products with clever sayings and things like that, but it’s just going to hit home with their biggest fans. You have to design for a wider fan base.” . ”

Don’t: Follow the trend.

“I see a lot of young bands trying to make their march like everyone else, or whatever the conventional style is,” Ray observed. “When you’re just following trends, how will your line be different from the rest? Of course you are influenced by what you like, but you don’t have to copy those things. You can take it as inspiration and twist it. ”

Don’t: Go ahead on your own.

Of course, almost everyone wants to offer their fans a ton of cool items, but having a huge merchant line almost never starts for the band. Plus, it’s expensive. “A lot of small bands try to move very quickly,” Ray says. “They see these pop-up shops and other dogs doing big dogs, but they’re not ready yet. If you get a little creative soon, you can get into debt very quickly.

Photo by Samantha Ray of Leticia Lelesmin

Photo by Samantha Ray of Leticia Lelesmin

Do: Make a shirt with your tour dates.

“The best-selling design is always the Tour T,” Ray confirms. “You have to have a design with the date of your visit. If you don’t have a style, dates don’t have to be behind – some people put them in front of sleeves or tees in a really interesting way. You can play with it. But people want a tour date. They want to prove that they were there. Don’t we all want Tom Petty shirts since 1978 that we’ve been there? I know I do. ”

Don’t: Hold on to ideas that don’t work.

You like the gold lamp tour Snugi brought, but it’s not selling. Eat. “You should have an open mind outside of your perceived perspective,” Roy said. “The customer is cruelly honest. Things that you think are going to sell really well may not actually be. You need to tap into your fan base and think outside of yourself. At the same time, if you have a great idea, your fans will let you know.

Do: Keep your lines simple and concise.

You don’t need to have twenty items on your merchant table while you can have five or six together and point. “We usually recommend one to two items like a tour tea, a unisex tea, a women’s tea, a sweatshirt or jacket and a coffee mug or lighter,” says Ray. “You want to do your best to keep the line together while making each thing quite different so that your fans want to buy each of them. You don’t want them to have to choose between t-shirts and baseball tees of the same design. You want them to be unique enough that They both bought it. “

Don’t: Be ashamed of wearing and promoting your own products.

“I’ve worked with artists who don’t want to wear their stuff on stage or promote it on social media, and it doesn’t sell either,” Ray says. “We have a lot of great artists Always Wear their stuff on stage, even if it’s for one or two songs. We are working Kelly machine gun Now, and she can’t post enough about her accessories – and she’s happy because the pieces are amazing. So don’t get too cold. If you don’t wear your goods, then why your fans? ”

Tax: Hang out at the merchant table.

Obviously if you are, it is ineligible Lady Gaga Or Chance the rapper, But for growing artists, it’s important to meet your fans face to face. “You There is Go to the March table, ”Ray insisted. “Your fans want to meet you, and they want to show you that they support you by buying your product. You can’t go to the merchant stand enough. Just shaking someone’s hand goes a long way. You’re a lifelong fan.”

– J. Bennett



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