Promotional Tools and Merchandise
When you give a T-shirt away, you need to remember that if someone wears your shirt even once, hundreds of people see your name - and what did it cost you to reach those 100 people? At most it will cost you $6. Every developing artist needs to create some sort of promotional item-- whether it's an elaborate doormat, a recycled T-shirt, an item that a sponsor pays for, or a simple sticker or poster-- the benefits far outweigh the costs, making promotional items an absolute must! A few important guidelines: Especially in your early days, when the band may not be that well known, shoot for consistency as much as possible. Utilize the band's logo, album artwork, or artwork style on as many promo items (and merchandise, as well, for that matter) as possible. This is especially critical with items that you will mass-manufacture and give out by the hundreds, like flyers, posters, and stickers. The more times people see the same image, the better the chances they will remember it, and the more likely they are to associate it with your act. And in today's dot-com world, make sure to include your website address (every artist needs a website; see our Internet section for more details) on every -- and I mean every -- promotional item you make.
Merchandise (merch)
Merch -- say that word 10 times fast and see how odd it sounds. Merch is any item that you create to sell -- at shows, through mail order or direct over the web. Every successful artist I know has an extensive array of merch items. These items range from your standard T-shirts, CDs, hats, and stickers to fuzzy neon-colored posters to key chains and nightlights. For many touring bands the sale of merch is what allows them to eat. Superstar acts can sell as much as $5 per head in merch. Think about that for a moment. If you're Dave Matthews and you're playing a stadium that holds 50,000 people and you sell $5 in merch per person, you've just made an additional $250,000! OK, you're not as big as Dave Matthews (yet), but the same kinds of economics can work for you. One of the other bands we work with, The Clarks (also from Pittsburgh) have a large and dedicated following that buys up all the new merch items they create.
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