**Guest post written by Jessica Kane, a music connoisseur and an avid record collector. She currently writes for SoundStage Direct, her go-to place for all turntables and vinyl equipment, including VPI Classic.
"The modern musical industry may be almost entirely digital, but this does not mean that streaming songs or downloading audio files is the best way to listen to music. Though they are not the main method of experiencing music anymore, vinyl album sales actually continue to grow, and modern vinyl sales levels have not been this high since 1988. Audiophiles might insist that vinyl is better because it sounds nicer, but there are also several other reasons why it is the superior format..."
**Guest Post written by Jon Ostrow, Director of Sales at Bandsintown, Founder of MicControl, lover of all things music, a raging Phish head, and a coffee addict. Also featured on Bandzoogle.com.
"Bandzoogle members have now crossed $20 Million in direct-to-fan sales through their websites (commission-free!). This comprehensive guide will show you how to set up an online merch store for your own band, and give you some ideas for the different types of merch you can sell to your fans."
**Guest post written by Carlos Castillo of Schwilly Family Musicians - music marketing strategist, web designer, live performance recordist, international road-tripper, lap steel player, and Captain of the Schwilly Family.
""Don't rely on the promoters. As long as you put on a killer show and have killer merch, you'll always have enough gas to make it to the next stop"...The bottom line is that if you want to be a professional musician, you should have a solid merch setup and promote it effectively at your gigs. Because it might be the only money you make that night..."
**Guest post written by Ari Herstand. It originally appeared on Ari's Take.
"It was a great show [Low Cut Connie at the Echo]. So naturally I stopped by the merch table afterwards to get their vinyl and a T...when she told me the price for the vinyl and T I thought there must be some kind of mistake. $27?! For both? No way. They were charging $13 for the vinyl and $14 for the T. Way too low!..."
**Guest post written by Phil Johnson, as featured in his blog, Big Whiz Bang!
So let me tell you my strategy for this. Just like on the internet, content is king. The more the better. Your goal should be to have a merch option for everybody that wants to take a souvenir home. And make no mistake, that’s what it is. A souvenir...
**As featured in Indie on the Move's Touring Tips Section.
When first breaking into a new market, even the best promotion can often yield poor results in attendance because you have yet to build name recognition in that area. Other times, you are forced to play for exposure alone just to get your leg in the door at one of the local music venues. In either case, merchandise sales can not only get you to the next show and pay for gas, but also allow you to continue and finish the tour without going bankrupt.
Booking fees and ticket sales only represent a portion of a performer's income for everyone from the independent artist to the big name band selling out huge venues. As a result, it is essential to take advantage of any opportunity to bring in extra cash via merchandise sales for CD's, T-shirts, and the like. But how can you create an inventory of merchandise without breaking the bank? Here are a few places you might be able to score some great deals...
Although vinyl represents only about 2% of total U.S. album sales, the growth in vinyl over the last few years has been dramatic. According to Nielsen SoundScan reports, vinyl LP sales rose 17.7% in 2012 compared to 2011, representing a continuing upward trend in the sales of vinyl albums since 2007. The most popular vinyl LPs are split between newer acts and classic albums, like the Beatles’ “Abbey Road.” Some of the vinyl chart toppers in 2012 came from acts including Jack White, Black Keys, Adele, Mumford & Sons, the Shins, Beach House, Alabama Shakes, and Bon Iver. So where can you get your own album pressed to vinyl?
Sure, we all know that releasing a CD allows you to take your music from the stage to the hands, homes, and ears of your fans. And having a cd with your best work on hand is also crucial when meeting and networking with a talent buyer, producer, or agent. But what if you don't have the budget to print a large run of your album, or even a place to store the inventory? Well you've got options...check out these on demand printing outlets so you can print just the number of cds you need, when you need them.
**Guest post written by Ari Herstand, a DIY singer-songwriter from Los Angeles, CA with 500+ shows under his belt, as featured in his blog Ari's Take.
When you're on tour, merch is your #1 income generator. This can't be stressed enough. Believe it. Bands stress over their guarantees and door splits and turnouts. If you want to survive financially with your music you must understand the importance of merch sales and approach it as such. I've played shows where 10 people showed up, but they had such an amazing time and I stressed the merch to them that all 10 people bought something averaging about $15. That's $150 in merch sales. That's good for any night.