Posted tagged ‘merchandise’

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

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Must Haves for Your Merch Table

September 27, 2010

Goodwill, Craigslist, your garage? Pick you spot and start you scavenger hunt.  When it comes to your merch table, there are so many ways to make an interesting display without spending a ton of money. I’ve found most everything I need at goodwill. Here are some very useful suggestions.

A Folding Table
If you’ve ever arrived at a gig with nowhere to display your merchandise, you’ll understand why this is the single most important part of your merchandise display. I bought a folding table from K-mart a year ago and now use it at 30% of my gigs…even when there is a table. Even if a venue provides something, I sometimes prefer to use my own because is the perfect size or because I can set up anywhere I like instead of using a venue’s table in the back of the room that’s been bolted to the floor (just an example). Don’t let the lack of a table prevent you from making sales at a gig. Get something small and portable. You can easily find something like this on craigslist.

An 8×10 photo Frame
Print out a sheet with the various prices of your CDs/T-shirts/stickers. Then stick it in the frame. Its just something a little more presentable.

A Tip Jar
Buy a vase, a mason jar, or anything clear. Smack a label on it and call it your tip jar. And/or you can use it as your cash register. Most of us cant/don’t have a roadie but would like to have the option of selling our merch during our set. Keep your table within eye-sight and welcome people to stop by your merch table during your set if they like what they hear.  People will.  They’ll often buy CDs and stick the payment in the jar without feeling obligated to wait for you to get off stage. Sometimes people can’t stick around for the whole set. This method has worked for me for over 5 years and I think it has made the difference in sales. Give it a try and tell me what you find. (works especially great at farmers markets, art festivals, and open-air spots).

A Lamp
Ever wonder why its harder to sell merchandise at clubs? Its dark and people can’t see .  A friend and I decided to place a lamp on our merch table at venue we always play at. We noticed that the added light caught the attention of our audience and helped us to push more CDs. This might not always work, but it definitely helps.

An Old Briefcase
Get something small and portable. Tons of artists are doing it these days. Arrange your T-shirts and CDs in the briefcase and you have a ready-made display. I’ve seen some artists use empty violin cases or guitar cases as well. Get creative.

For more thoughts on your merch, makings sales, and creative ideas, check out the merch category.

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Learning Your Listeners

September 20, 2010

The saying goes like this: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again. Occasionally, when I’m at a show, or shortly after a show, I notice how various audience members respond to my merchandise table.  Here’s what I’ve observed…

Type A Listener
This individual likes what they hear. They buy the album immediately, sign the email list and pick up a card so they can go out of their way and check out your website when they get home. Type A is excited and fully committed to supporting you from the start. They’re the person who will tweet about you from their phone the instant they hear your music. They’ll share you with their friends, and come regularly to your shows. They’ll buy your album for friends and attend a few shows each year.

Type B Listener
This person likes what they hear and will likely stick around for your whole show. But Type B isn’t sold out on your music…at least not yet. It’s important to realize that you will almost have more Type Bs than Type As in your audience. Type B will sign your newsletter and will probably do so without you asking because they want to keep tabs on what you’re up to. They’ll go to your show, not because they need a fix of your music, but because it’s conveniently in their neighborhood. Make sure you get Type B’s email b/c even if they don’t buy your album, they will show interest in your music on special occasions (CD Release/major show) , and consider buying your album when you have a sale (maybe a Christmas discount).

Type C Listener
This person isn’t particularly interested in your tunes, but might just pick up your business card off the table at the very most.  In other words, because they don’t have your music, and haven’t given you their contact information (for your newsletter), it’s completely in their hands to stay abreast on your career.  They don’t hae any regular reminders, so your engagement with them will be slim-to-none.

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More Clever Merch Ideas

March 19, 2009


Yesterday I got overly excited about the idea of selling your music by way of the USB flash drive. Read “Improvising…Because We’re In a Recession, Yo!”  So I thought I’d highlight a few more interesting (but different) merch ideas.  I’m sure I’ll be adding to this list in future blogs.

The Standards  (not so interesting, but familiar)
Most bands tesd to go with T-shirt, stickers, and buttons. I still think these are great options…especially stickers b/c those stay in place for a long time.  Posters are another popular option.  If you think someone would actually want to buy an autographed poster of you, do it!  Production costs are fairly low for this. 

Not the most likely merch idea…but everybody needs something to write on…even with the fact that computers are taking over. Check out to see what it would look like if you had your band logo or website on personal-sized notebooks.

Tote Bags
This is probably something that the chicks will like more than the guys. Why not put your logo, website,  a quote, or something funny on the side of a tote bag.  There are so many tote bags out there, so whatever you write on the side, make it clever.  Tote bags are relatively cheap when purchased in bulk. has some really great tote designs (and even makeup bags too).

Key Rings
People carry their keys everywhere and so the chances of this being a good seller are high!  www. also has some really great keychains.  Be sure to look around on other sites for the best

Also, read a little more about branding your band through merchandise via these articles
***SinFlip: Brilliant Band Merchandise Ideas To Make Money With
***On Stage: Merch Madness 
***Bob Baker: Top CDs & Merch Sales Tips


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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.

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New Year, New Ideas

December 15, 2008
freaky CD cover but drives the point of this blog home in a wierd kind of way.

freaky CD cover but drives the point of this blog home in a wierd kind of way.


The new year is upon us! In the Spirit of change/resolutions/starting over, I propose that all the musicians reading this come up with a visible change in the way they spread their music. Here are a few ideas…

(trying to keep posts shorter so its not too much to read in one sitting)

Book Yourself. Then Book Some More
Have you begun booking for January and February yet.  Having shows on your calendar automatically helps create a demand.  When venues see that you are a busy musician, the are more likely to want to book you…and more likely to respond to your email.  The ratrace of booking never really ends and you always want to stay ahead of the game by having as many shows as possible on your calendar.  Hop on over to the Stay Informed post for some booking methods.

Get Business Cards

Start the year off right by taking on business mindset about your music. Go to every show with the intention of making sure people take your name home with them.  That will happen by default if you have a good show, but don’t forget to mention your website(s) on stage and leave some business cards laying around.  Hop on over to the Drawing Traffic to Your Website post for more ideas on this.

Have a More Presentable Merch Setup
Don’t just tell people you have a CD and then pull it out of your back pocket if someone asks.  Setup a merch table.  One of the first things you should do upon arriving at a venue is look for the most central, highly trafficked spot to place your CDs.  Make sure people see it when they walk in and out.
If you need to go out and buy a small card table, do it.  I’ve been stranded several times…especially when playing at Art Festivals, Farmers Markets, outside gigs. The small table in the back of my car has seriously paid off!   (Don’t forget to have a mailing list form at your table)

Set Goals
Set some goal and then work towards them. Here are a few ideas

  • If you’re currently getting 15 hits on your myspace, decide that you want to have 50 or 75 or 100…etc
  • If you’re currently playing 2 shows a month, set a goal to play 4 or 6 or 10…etc
  • If have a CD, and you haven’t been getting any reviews, resolve to contact a few blogzines each week and solicit for reviews…etc. Read the How to Score Reviews post for more on this.

You’ll never know what’s possible if you don’t try!

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