Posted tagged ‘Merch’

What’s Your Merch Setup?

November 10, 2010

Don’t know how we missed this, but Baltimore Band Stars and the Sea posted this comment a few months back.  Check out there merchandise table setup above.  If you’ve got a clever merch setup, post a comment below with a link to a photo. Here are their comments…

Here’s our merchandise setup:
I’m using light tubes from Home Depot for the lighting
Total cost $30 for the Small Old Suite Case, $7 or so for the light tube.

I’m also making a small treasure chest type donation box with a U Bolt and a Chain so I can lock it to a table.

p.s. check out Their website is nothing short of great!

See: Must Haves for Your Merch Table

***Subscribe to Grassrootsy


Free Things Your Fans Will Love

July 1, 2009
Mark Martucci

Mark Martucci

 Ok, so there’s the ongoing debate about whether it helps/hurts to give away free mp3s to people. Read “What’s Your Motive? Making Money or Making Music?” for some good arguments.  And while you’re figuring out what you think,  here are some other options of how you can show appreciation to your fans while still promoting yourself.

Wallpapers and other image downloads
Wallpapers don’t cost anything except recruiting someone with graphic design ability.  Hopefully you or a freind can muster up some minimal photoshop knowledge.  That said, people love wallpapers for their computer desktop. 

Check out Mark Martucci’s page (click ‘DLoads’ link at the bottom right corner) for some great examples. He also offers AIM (aol instant messenger) buddy icons for people to use if they want. That’s a clever idea.  Ari Hest does the same thing.  His free media page is really great and offers, wallpapers, aim icons and banners.  Eric Hutchinson’s got some real killer downloads that he calls “buttons” check em out.  He also offers the code so that fans can embed the buttons on their own myspace.

No matter what types of images and icons you give away, make sure to include your website somewhere in the artwork – its all about promotion.

Who doesn’t like stickers? Stickers are pretty cheap and a fun way to share your music with people.  Ya, you’ll need to put out a little investment for this, but not much. There are tons of sticker companies and you can probably easily find a local printer in your city.  So far the best deal I’ve found is with Contagious Graphics.  They’ll print 250 stickers for $23 (4in x 1.38in). Other sizes and prices vary.  And by the way…if you go with Contagious Graphics, tell them “Joy Ike” referred you. k? thanks!

If you don’t want to simplygive stickers away, use them as incentive. examples:

  • 1.] The first 20 people at this Saturday’s show get a free sticker 
  • 2.] a free sticker when you sign up for the newsletter
  • 3.] 2 free stickers with every CD purchase

Information and Deals
It’s ok to be partial. Offer deals to the people who communicate with you, sign up for your newsletter, and fan club(s).  Here are some ideas.

  • 1.] Create a coupon (via photoshop) that says they can get $1 off the cover charge at your show
  • 2.] Send them special codes they can use to download free tunes.  Joel Rakes has a code on the back of his CDs and he says the concept works very well.


If you have any other ideas based on any of the above topics, please post them in comments. Thanks for reading!

***Subscribe to Grassrootsy

A Couple Things Every Artist Should Have #3

June 29, 2009 Chris McDonald aka Sale the Salesman

 To read the first two posts in this series check out:

A Couple Things Every Artist Should Have #1
A Couple Things Every Artist Should Have #2

A YouTube account
Soul/Electonica artist Chris McDonald has the right idea.  In anticipation of his forthcoming CD, Life of a Salesman, McDonald puts together 3 minute comedic video shorts featuring himself as Sal the Salesman.  Check em out. Not only is this an excellent way to build hype, but videos allow you to engage with your audience in a way that you just can’t do via audio or photo.  Consider opening a youtube account and posting a new video every 2 weeks (every week if you can).  It will pay offf…and will be the best/fast/easiest way for fans to get to know you better.  p.s. videos don’t necessarily have to be about your music…maybe something that just shows of your personality.

The Simplest, Most Straightforward merch store
When it comes to making money, don’t mess around w/ the potential to pull in supporters.  If your information is confusing, cluttered, or too much, you’ll miss out on sales, and web traffic.  Keep it cut-in-dry…especially on myspace.  Check out Mary Bragg’s music store.  Also visit her store on her official site.  It’s incredible and a perfect example of offering perfectly clear/concise information! Her store is powered by IndieKazoo. Check ’em out. They’re fabulous.

A header banner image on your myspace
Why not? Alot of artists are doing it these days and its just a great way to welcome ppl to your site.  Include an image of yourself or your band at the very top of your myspace. Visit Transmissor’s page for an example.  Why are headers important? Considering that it’s the first thing a person sees when they get to your page, a header is your chance to catch their eye and tell them your most important fact….like the an upcoming major show, or the release of a new CD. Visit Tommy and the Whale’s page for an example. 

To learn how to put up your own image on your page, check out this post on 10 Fun Websites to Create Your Own Free Banner.


***Subscribe to Grassrootsy

Music & Current Economic Challenges #1

June 22, 2009
Kings of Tragedy

Kings of Tragedy

If you’re like me, your starting to notice that funding is being/has been cut for many organizations and art initiatives in your city. Fewer art and community festivals and smaller budgets.  That sucks.  If you’re an independent artist trying to make a living, it’ll probably get harder before it gets easier.  

Grassrootsy is interested in knowing what YOU, as a musician, are doing to generate income during these economic times.  Post your comments below (along with your name and website).  The best, most applicable, and practical suggestions will be the content of Wa future post. 

And here are a couple Grassrootsy suggestions…

Offer Incentives for Early Birds
Who wants to pay $10 for live music if they can pay $8, huh? When people know they can save money, they will…especially when its on something arbitrary like music.  Work out something through P’. For anyone who buys advance tickets, they can get into the show for a fraction of the price. If they wait last-minute, they’ll have to pay the full price at the door.

Collaborate With Your Venue
Talk with the store owner.  Ask if he would be willing to give attendees a 10% or 15% discount off their appetizer (or entree) if they buy a ticket to the show.  This won’t always work but it just might. 

Take Advantage of “Package Deals” 
Good friends, The Kings of Tragedy always try to do this.  If they are playing a show with another artist, they offer the audience a 2 CD deal. If you buy the CDs individually, they are $10 each. If you buy them together, you get both for $15.  So each artist will get $7.50 for their CD instead of ten, but you are guaranteed to sell more and get your music out to more people….ultimately making more money that night than you would have.  Some artists like the idea. Some don’t.

Gotta spend money to make it.  Check out the More Clever Merch Ideas post for some great ideas.

Subscribe to Grassrootsy

little things that make a BIG difference!

April 22, 2009
TJ Cornwall

TJ Cornwall

Whats the basic rule of thumb? Don’t take anything for granted. Yes, artists are generally big dreamers, but that doesn’t mean you overlook the simple, practical things. If anything it means you need to pay even more attention to the small details in order to make the big things better.  Here are few things that are extremely important in my opinion.

Test everything
Before sending out an email to your subscribers, make sure you send yourself a copy.  Put yourself in the shoes of a recipient.  Is the email readable and broken into small paragraphs so that its easy to digest?  If you were a fan, would the email layout be appealing and worth opening?  Read the Email Marketing – Making Sure People Read What You Write post for tons of other great tips.  This same concept applies to laying out your website and myspace…etc.

The really small thing(s)
Who knew that a small thing like Twitter could make such a difference in the 21st Century.  Some people don’t “get” Twitter. I still don’t “get” it but I know its the simplest form of communication the internet offers.  Write a one-liner, click “send” and it goes out to all your followers.  Within a few seconds I can get out an insignificant or very important peice of news to anyone who is following me

Why do small things like this make a huge difference?  Well, its important to realize that when you have committed fans, they want to know everything about you. And they want to communicate with you.  If they already have a copy of your CD, the next best thing is having a chance to get a sneak peak into your life via blogs, twitter, facebook status changes, the list goes on and on.  And when they can directly communicate with you, it only enhances their feeling of really “knowing” you.  Building relationship is really what its all about.  I’ve been following TJ Cornwall on twitter for a few weeks and he does a really good job with this.

I can also tell you from personal experience, that after sending out a quick msg on twitter or facebook saying “hey, I’m going to So & So’s Open Mic at 7pm” people have decide to come out!  Twitter works. And  people are more likely to read a short twitter msg than a 300 word blog.  Twitter is basically catering to the average persons short attention span. Sad…i know!  But it works!

Scoping out the room
The first thing you should do when you get to a venue is determine the most visible, central spot to layout your CDs.  This is a very simple thing that makes a huge difference.  Alot of artists prefer to hold onto their CDs until the end of their set…but believe me keeping your music in a visible spot gives show attendees a chance to to eye it and decide (throughout the course of the night) whether they want to invest in your tunes. Read the Looking Professional Even When You’re Not (or are you? i just can’t tell!)  post for more ideas on displaying your merch. 

Setting Goals
Ya…its really a matter of just writing it down. For more on this  check out the What’s the Worst That Can Happen? Really post.

If you have other small/BIG suggestions, please post in comments.

Subscribe to Grassrootsy

Selling Your Music – Setting up an Online Merch Store

March 9, 2009





Be sure to read the first two posts in this series

1.)  Starting from Scratch: What it takes to Release a CD
2.) Alternatives – CD Packaging, Production, & Distribution

So once you’ve got the recording, artwork, and packaging done, its time to decide on ways to get your music out there. We talked a bit about digital distribution resources in the above links.  Now, here’s a deeper look into paypal…an easy resource for selling hard copies of your music (other than the obvious CDBaby).  Read more about CDBaby in the CDBaby vs. Paypal post.  (make sure to read people’s comments at the bottom of the page) 


Paypal is wonderful
Ya, I’ve talked about it before…and I don’t mean to sound repetitive but  Paypal is an incredible resource for small business owners, artists, musicians…etc. It has helped me incredibly in the last 10 months…to give my music store a very clean, simple, proffessional look. My best suggestion for you is to visit their site and look into all they have to offer.  Its FREE to setup and paypal takes a very small percentage of every sale.  They currently take 63 cents from every $10 CD I sell.  This is worth it to me. 

Paypal is professional
Paypal allows your customers to pay through credit card and sends them a confirmation email to let them know that the transaction went through.  Paypal also send you and email to let you know someone has purchased your product. You then have the responsibility of mailing your product to the customer.

Paypal is simple
With Paypal you have several options of how you’d like to setup your store and you’re given the html code to do this…  Artist K-Drama  has a really excellent paypal store on his site.  You wont see that notorious yellow button paypaladd   b/c he’s simply exchanged the button image for his own creation.  But his store is very straightforward and allows you to add various CDs to your cart by clicking “Add to Cart”.  If you visit my store,  you see I’ve used a drop down box option which is great for making more space on a page and compiling information.

All the html code is provided by Paypal so its straightfoward…but if you need help incorporating into your site, ask your webmaster (its really easy on myspace).


If you are aware of other online merch stores, please post a comment. I wanted to spotlight others, but after visiting 10 random artist websites this evening, is was apparent that paypal is most popular.

***Subscribe to Grassrootsy