Posted: Oct 1, 2018
**Guest post written by Ari Herstand, the author of How To Make It in the New Music Business.
"When you’re on tour, merch can be your number-one income generator. Believe it. Bands stress over their guarantees, door splits and turnouts. If you want to survive financially with your music, you must understand the importance of merch sales. I’ve played shows where 10 people showed up, but they had such an amazing time and I so stressed the merch to them that all 10 people bought something averaging about $15. That’s good for any night.
The tour merch tracking platform atVenu has calculated that for 500–1,000-cap venues, the average dollar per head (DPH) is $3.65. Meaning, if 200 people show up, you can estimate to make $730 in merch. However, this doesn’t just happen because you offer merch. The dollar-per-head number will fluctuate based on how well you sell your merch, how attractive your merch items are to your audience, how attractive the merch display is and how good your sellers are. Ingrid Michaelson’s manager, Lynn Grossman, stated that they have “become much smarter” about what merch items Ingrid’s fans like. She stated that by adding vinyl they increased their dollar per head quite a bit. Her fans also buy songbooks for piano and ukulele—which obviously may not do as well for a hard rock project. Ingrid’s dollar per head fluctuates just as much as that of the next act, and Lynn stated that their range has been as low as $2/head all the way up to $8/head. Even though Ingrid is playing to an average of 2,000 people a night now, she still goes and checks her merch display every night to make sure it is set up just right.
Join me [and Kyle Weber from Indie on the Move] as we hold a free, live, one hour webinar where we will discuss 9 Ways To Double Your Live Merch Sales on Wednesday, October 10th. If you attend live you can ask questions, if you can't attend live you will get the replay to watch for a few days (before it disappears forever), but you must register BEFORE the 10th. Register HERE."
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