Merch success poll - CD, download, vinyl, shirts?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by BrBss, Feb 23, 2018.

  1. Music- CD's

    28 vote(s)
  2. Music- Digital downloads

    7 vote(s)
  3. Music- Vinyl

    11 vote(s)
  4. Apparel- T shirts

    56 vote(s)
  5. Apparel- other (explain in comments)

    9 vote(s)
  6. Other miscellaneous, non-vegetable things (explain in comments)

    5 vote(s)
  7. Carrots- we have a rabid rabbit fanbase

    10 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. BrBss


    Jul 9, 2010
    Albuquerque NM
    I'm playing with a band that is about to release an album, and we're trying to figure out what to purchase for selling at shows. Wanted to pick some brains on TB about what's worked best for others. Feel free to select multiple options if they've worked well for you.
  2. RattleSnack


    Sep 22, 2011
    I am also very interested how will
    musicians with merch experience vote. My guess is that nothing beats the simple T-shirt and CD combo.
  3. BrBss


    Jul 9, 2010
    Albuquerque NM
    That's what I expect as well. We were really hoping to do press some vinyl, but it's just so expensive that it doesn't look feasible for us.
  4. Vinyl is pricey to produce and doesn't leave much room for profit, but in the right scene, it will sell like hotcakes.

    I came up in the underground metal scene, where collecting vinyl is huge. People will go nuts for a small one-off vinyl run in multiple colors. Some collectors will even buy multiple copies of the same record in every color available.

    Also, trucker hats seem to sell really well. Every music fan has hundreds of t-shirts and might opt for something else if its available... trucker hats sell for about the same price as a t-shirt, but are usually cheaper to have made.
    Jimmy4string, Groove Doctor and BrBss like this.
  5. Shot glasses. Seriously. You can get decent shot glasses with your logo on them for a couple bucks each and then sell them for $10. They fly off the shelves for us.
  6. Good one. Pint glasses, koozies, and bottle openers as well.
  7. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    CDs and t-shirts seem to be the winners in my experience, at least in terms of the local rock/metal scene. We probably sell 10 CDs or more for every digital download we sell, and t-shirts seem to be the second item that most people request.

    In my opinion, vinyl tends to be a good item for a band that already has a pretty good following, but it is too expensive for the typical local band.

    Our most successful "unusual" items were a limited run of custom designed USB flash drives loaded up with a couple of our EPs. We were able to get a pretty decent markup on them and sold most of them fairly quickly when we came out with a new EP, but I don't think that would be something that is likely to sell in any large quantities over time.
    9mmMike, BrBss and Bassbeater like this.
  8. We did a run of stickers that sold really well. Keep the numbers small though, then change it to match the design of each CD you release.

    Tshirts HAVE to look really good to sell well, esp girls Shirts. An Understated design sold better to the hipster crowd that supported us.

    A CD needs an accompanying booklet of lyrics, discussion, etc. A few cryptic comments, quotes, or in-jokes make for a more interesting read.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
    BrBss and Bassbeater like this.
  9. Bassbeater

    Bassbeater Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    CD's are done. Only parents have CD players anymore.
    I'd suggest selling a t-shirt, hat, whatever, then collecting an email and sending a free 3 song download from your full album with the purchase via email. I would probably do something like that.
    1bassleft, petrus61, filmtex and 2 others like this.
  10. vinyl is about the only thing we have been able to sell and not lose money on
    BrBss likes this.
  11. Not much experience here. If your a bar band on heavy rotation, I always thought that ladies panties with the band name across the back side would go over well.
  12. St_G


    Jan 22, 2013
    Memphis, TN
    Posters. Preferably with cool art, not just a band photo or album cover on cardstock. And if it has the date and venue of the specific show you're selling it at, even better.

    My wife and I started collecting Hatch Show Prints from The Ryman about eight years ago. And now, they've become a lot more common at shows elsewhere. I think we're pushing 30 of the things at this point. And more importantly, I've seen them sell out at more shows than I can recall.

    There's a letterpress printer somewhere in your town. Find it.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
  13. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    Patches are still popular for people that listen to our genre.
    Bassbeater and BrBss like this.
  14. St_G


    Jan 22, 2013
    Memphis, TN
    Oh, also, enamel pins seem to be having a bit of a renaissance. A...pinaissance.

    C'mon. A pinaissance? That's worth a like. Go on. Do it. Do eeeeet.
    Dkerwood, JKos, Jimmy4string and 11 others like this.
  15. Savage_Dreams


    Jan 8, 2007
    while that is true in the big picture of music sales, they still sell at shows. its been my experience, doesnt matter if youre a known band or not, that its an item people will buy to get an autograph on. its hard to sign a t shirt ;)
    BrBss and St_G like this.
  16. dan1952

    dan1952 Commercial User

    Jun 27, 2012
    Anderson IN
    Artist Endorsement with Supro Huntington Basses / Owner, Dan's Music, Inc..
    Back in the old days, we sold vinyl and tee shirts easily.
    BrBss likes this.
  17. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    T-shirts, gimme caps, and hoodies. I can’t give away CDs. I love caps—one size fits all. There is some interest in warm-up jackets, but those are big $$$.
    BrBss likes this.
  18. I don’t carry cash with me anymore so don’t be like most bands and take cards too.
    BrBss and St_G like this.
  19. DanAdams

    DanAdams Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2013
    BrBss likes this.
  20. DD Gunz

    DD Gunz

    Jun 18, 2015
    These days I find that apparel and the above mention shot glasses and the like are what sells.

    Word of advise, make sure your shirts are catchy and appeal to people who really are not just buying it because it has the name of your band on it. Make it a shirt people would want to wear anyway and you will sell more of them.

    Also, make women’s shirts and tank tops. Rarely do bands do this but once you do you will sell many more shirts.

    We do make CDs. However, we give them away and leave them out on the merch table. People don’t buy CDs anymore.
    Groove Doctor and BrBss like this.