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The Secrets To Money and Merchandise in The Digital Age

The Past

The music industry is a mere shell of what it once was. The sudden influx of technology has altered the way the music industry itself and those associated with it conduct business. The old business model had artists chomping at the bit to get signed by a label. The downside for the artist was that once they signed that piece of paper they belonged to the label. It was up to the label to market, promote and most importantly fund the album. Funding the album entailed them paying for the studio time, hiring on extra musicians and hand picking the top engineers and producers for the project. This process wasn’t about flaunting money, it was about making money. The goal for all involved was to have the first product do well. The success or in some cases the failure would decide whether the artist and their label could continue their relationship and work on future projects.

The Present

Music today has many artists choosing to go it alone without the financial backing of a label. Technology has enabled both established and emerging artists to trade in their financial dependency for a slice of creative freedom. This creative freedom comes with a price of its own though, without the label the artist must meet their goals on their own and failure in this case is not an option. This type of artist should focus on making music first, but almost immediately after turn their attention to their marketing strategy, creating a brand and finding a way to get it to their fans.

Merchandise = Money

It is proven fact it takes a little money to make money so why not invest in your future project by selling merchandise to your fans, it will promote you and generate revenue all at once.

Live- Keep in mind that you will sell most of your merchandise at live events. Make sure the venue you are performing at sets aside a designated area or table that your fans can come to browse.

Style- Clothing is a market leader when it comes to merchandise. If it isn’t something you would wear don’t expect your fans to wear it. Every band needs a logo and every piece of clothing ought to contain this identifying mark. The band name will adorn the clothing as well to reel in those who are not familiar with the logo.

Going Digital- An obvious staple at your merchandise table will be your CD. The CD is slowly becoming extinct just like its predecessors, the A-track and the tape. In order to give your fans options try supplying the CD and the digital format of your music. Keeping with the digital theme, you ought to create a strong online presence for yourself using sites like Facebook and Twitter to promote you and your website. Once the fans on our your website they will be directed to your online store where they can view and buy your entire line of merchandise.

Music & Beyond- Turning your idea into the next big thing is a sure fire way to put your merchandise on top of everyone’s want list. Digital sound needed more than the typical ear bud could handle, which is where Dr. Dre stepped in. Obviously he knows music, being as he has been in the industry for several decades now. Using his music knowhow and his business smarts he created Beats, a retro style headphone that produces quality sound on the inside and sleek design on the outside (now in a variety of colors). To say these headphones are a trend is an understatement, they are now a status symbol.

Work Cited:

“Alternatives to Labels”. BBC: Advice. 2012.

Houghton, Bruce. “ Modernizing The Merchandise Madness”. 2012, October 1.

Tax Credits. 2012. [Photo] Money: Money Pot full of dollar bills. 2012, March5. Flickr

Emerson, Hoyt. “Make Your Merchandise Personal: Make More Money”. Music Think Tank. 2012, December 3.

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