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For music artists and bands looking to grow their fan base, a great website remains an important tool. It’s an exciting time when producing a website as it’s your “home”. It’s a place where fans can easily discover you and your music, and then hopefully go on to be paying customers and superfans who champion your work. 

 But getting website traffic isn’t easy. Competition for your fans' time is highly competitive.  

 If you want to get more people visiting your website, try implementing these eight tips: 

Create share-worthy content 

By creating amazing content that attracts fans, they could feel compelled to share on social media and expose you to a wider audience. 

If you’re not creating content that emotionally connects with your fans, you risk being lost in the millions of pieces of content published each month. You will need to create unique, attractive, inherently valuable, share-worthy content that speaks for itself. 

Learn More: https://www.waterbear.org.uk/your-social-media-survive-or-thrive/ 

Share your website content on social media 

With a productive social media strategy, whenever you create a piece of content, share it multiple times across your social media profiles in different ways.  

Repurposing is a great way to refresh content without repeating yourself. 

When you share your content on social media, understand which format works best for each platform you choose to work with. 

Learn More: https://optinmonster.com/40-ways-to-repurpose-blog-content/ 

Build your email list with lead magnets

Each time you publish something valuable on your website, you can send a link out to your email list which will organically bring visitors to your site. 

The bigger your email list, the more people you’ll get to your website.   

One of the most effective ways to build your list is by giving away something in exchange for an email address. The giveaway, called a ‘lead magnet’, is valuable content that people can get once they hand over their email address. For example: exclusive music, downloads, blogs, live streams, premium content which is unavailable anywhere else.   

Learn More:  https://optinmonster.com/9-lead-magnets-to-increase-subscribers/ 

Guest posting

Guest posting on someone else’s website or social media allows you to tap into a new audience. 

If you have something valuable to offer, that will be of interest to others, research other websites that relate to your subject matter. It doesn’t necessarily always need to be just about music. Consider popular culture, trending topics, and current news. 

If you want to stand out and have the opportunity to post on someone else’s platform, you’ll need to be unique in your pitch. It’s not just about you getting in front of the audience, it’s also about you adding value to their audience.  

 Learn More: https://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/9-tips-to-perfectly-pitch-your-guest-blog-post/ 

Participate in online forums 

Forums and Facebook groups can be great sources of traffic for your website if you know what you’re doing. 

These platforms will want you to participate in the conversation that’s happening in the group itself, not simply spamming the group with your music links. You’ll need to answer people's questions, contribute your thoughts, ask questions, and add something significant to the conversation. 

If you’re an active member then you can share the occasional link to relevant content on your site. But only share a link to your website when it’s relevant to the conversation. Don’t force your music on people.  

Learn More: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/how-to-sell-on-social-media-without-being-too-salesy/563845/ 

Reference influencers 

If you can get an influencer with a large social media audience to share your content with their audience, it can be a huge boost for your website traffic. 

One of the most effective strategies for getting others to share your content is to quote or reference them via social media tagging. Be sure to make sure your social media content is really easy to understand, fast. Asking a question is a great starting point. This could begin the journey of building a relationship and having your content shared to a wider audience.  

Learn More: https://referralrock.com/blog/successful-influencer-marketing/ 

Collaboration

Always be on the lookout for ways to collaborate with other people who also have their own audience. The obvious collaboration is releasing music with another artist. However, there are many other methods to explore. 

For example, collaboration is very common in the YouTube world and one way creators build up their subscriber base. Instead of trying to build an audience all by yourself, you can team up with others and mutually benefit each other. 

Learn More: https://influencermatchmaker.co.uk/blog/top-tips-creating-authentic-brand-collaborations 

Advertise

Advertising on the likes of Facebook and Instagram is a cost effective way to get traffic directly to your website. Yes, it does cost money (unlike the other strategies listed so far).  

But if you’re willing to spend a little bit of cash on content that’s already proven to be successful, you can get a lot of specific traffic to your site and not pay loads doing it. 

Learn more: https://www.facebook.com/facebookmedia/blog/facebook-ads-strategy-for-musicians 

The good news is that you can start implementing the above tactics immediately and get more website traffic. Always be sure to start small and work smart. Begin with one tactic, focus on it, and learn how to do it effectively. Then move onto the next only when you’re ready to. 

If you start implementing these strategies one by one, at the right time, you’ll begin to see an increase in your website traffic.  

If you interested in learning more and are serious about progressing in your career as a musician,  Order a Prospectus or Apply Now.

At a time when it seems like the whole world has taken to social media to perform, how on earth do we stand out? Well, I reckon it can be summed up in just three words - 

Quality is King

It's safe to say that wobbly footage shot at a bad angle that is poorly lit with erratic audio will not get you a big audience! I recently watched a video shot by one of my favourite guitar players which was shared on the Facebook page of his (multi-multi-million selling) band. A page which has 565,171 subscribers by the way.  

 The shot looked good at first glance - sitting on a high stool in glorious sunshine set against a backdrop of beautiful Tennessee countryside, however the audio was poor thanks to some wind noise, plus he wasn't facing the camera so his singing was muffled and indistinct. Also, whoever was holding the camera must have gotten tired halfway through as the image started to shake!  

Of course, with over half a million FB fans he doesn't need to try so hard. Or does he? Personally, I see this pandemic as the 'great leveller' - the chance for innovative grass roots artists to really grab the attention of bigger audiences and how we come across on our broadcasts is the key to that. With more to gain than the big guys in terms of revenues (or is that less to lose?) now really is the time to up our game.  Check out this blog for sound and lighting tips.

How to monetise your streams 

I've seen a lot of 'tip-jar' streams – artists offering a list of cover songs they're willing to play while relentlessly plugging their PayPal or Ko-Fi links in-between tracks. Now that's all very well and good but it smacks a little of busking for pennies to me. Of course, we all need to make money but, thinking of the bigger picture, these times are tailor-made for increasing our audience engagement and expanding our fan base, not just for collecting a couple of quid, bucks, euros, whatever.  

Think for a moment about how you want to be perceived as an artist and let that perception inform how you will go about monetising your streams. For myself, I'm happy to appear on virtual festival bills, playing a 15-20 minute set with a plug for my website and merch links here and there as it's much easier for me to go back through all the likes and comments and reply to each individually than it is to persuade everyone to send me a tip.  

The master plan 

That gives me the opportunity to thank each and every person for watching, which converts those audience members into fans by getting them to like my social media pages and sign up for my mailing list.  This not only helps me post content that they're more likely to engage with moving forward, but it also gives me the opportunity to invite them to future events behind a paywall where I can promise a longer, higher quality performance, perhaps with additional benefits, as I'll discuss below. 

Virtual house concerts 

OK so you've built a new audience, or increased engagement with an existing one by streaming your heart out on Facebook, now what? Well there are many routes – getting them to a subscription content delivery service like Patreon, or to an online site like Side Door Access (a platform which matches artists with spaces then sells tickets to the shows). Don't forget to keep it simple. Sometimes that means stick to what you know.  

Zoom Zoom Zoom 

I've had quite a bit of success hosting small house concert or small club type shows using the Zoom digital meeting app. It's free (as long as you keep your performances under 40 minutes) or £15/month to remove that time cap and you can invite up to 100 attendees. Video quality is pretty good and there's a real community vibe that makes the event much more memorable than the scrolling commentary vibe of a Facebook stream. The audio isn't exactly high quality, but it has an interesting grainy quality that reminds me of listening to AM radio in the 80s! 

I sell event tickets via my Bandcamp page then email the Zoom meeting link to everyone, along with a link to a YouTube video which gives them a crash course in Zoom tech. 

Zoom meeting 'hosts' can mute all the audio ensuring a quiet room while you're playing and then un-mute in-between songs (for the applause and cheers) but it's a bit much to take on solo so it's a good idea to have a friend/roadie/TM/offspring onboard to help run the tech. 

Give them something extra

As an extra incentive to encourage people to pay for the experience I offer a free 'bootleg' recording of the show. I record all the audio while streaming, then do a quick edit and upload the results to Bandcamp. I then generate free album codes which I distribute to all ticket holders so they can download a 'proper' album. Simple, effective, great value for money and it gives my fans an irreplaceable memory in the form of a bespoke 'artefact'! 

I hope this blog has been useful for you. I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have on the subject. These are challenging times for many of us but I take some comfort in recognising that innovation is so often born out of adversity, and that by choosing to find new ways to grow our DIY music careers in these circumstances we are leading a new  generation of audience engagement!  

If you interested in learning more and are serious about progressing in your career as a musician,  Order a Prospectus or Apply Now.

Creating and publishing social media content on a regular basis can sometimes feel like an endless line of tasks with little reward. While it’s no secret that social media usage continues to grow, for artists and bands looking to stand out in a crowded market tapping into your creativity should be seen as an ace up your sleeve. 

When it comes to new music releases, thinking outside the boundaries of simply promoting products is crucial to success, especially if you’re hoping to build your fanbase. The rise of social media and the accessibility of a vast array of entertainment means that musicians should consider that it’s not just other music artists and bands competing for people's time. 

Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, podcasts, blogs and many other on demand digital platforms are consumed at a highly rapid rate and, with streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music offering “all you can eat sonic buffets”, it can seem like a daunting challenge when preparing social media content for publication vs the outcome. 

The good news is that with a healthy dose of imagination, creativity, preparation and knowhow, there are plenty of ways for musicians to differentiate themselves with their social and digital online presence.  Reaching wider audiences who, as a result  become new fans is a gamechanger for musicians looking to build and sustain a career in music. 

Two starting points when approaching a different social media content process is to look at the big brand media platforms I’ve mentioned previously and embrace what media actually is. For example: 

Your social media is a TV station 

Consider your social media platform to be a television station.  TV uses a variety of informative, entertaining, and educational programming. Advertising makes up a smaller part of the schedule. Consider your music products as the advertising arm of your media presence and then look at your current social media content. If the majority of your output is “ Watch this new music video”, “stream our new song”, “pre-order the new ep / album” etc, essentially your social media is predominantly made up of advertising. These types of posts might serve to inform your audience about your music but if you’re not allowing for engaging posts that encourage fans to participate, it’s likely social media algorithms are squeezing the reach on the visibility of your posts.  

Take the time to research resources such as tv channels and on-demand services like Netflix, and consider how you could adopt different ways to produce and deliver unique, interesting content that might resonate with a wider audience. 

The recipe to success 

Here are six key ingredients to help make your social media pop out: 

R = RECREATIONAL: Funny, popular culture, films, tv, music, jokes, memes, gifs, holidays. 

E = EDUCATIONAL: Trivia, facts, tips, tricks, hacks, trends, research, case studies, history, on this day. 

C = CONVERSATIONAL: Surveys, polls, fill in the blanks, Ask a question, this vs that, featured of the week/month. 

I = INSPIRATIONAL: Quotes, reviews, success stories, achievements, before and after, images of people and events that inspire your music. 

P = PROMOTIONAL: Discounts, buy one get one free, customer reviews, FB/IG Live, webinars, workshops, playthroughs. 

E = ENTREPRENEURIAL: Behind the scenes stories about your music, featured band members, personal life, mission and vision statements, values, story of the band and people involved with it. Involve your fans and their stories. 

Slice the pie 

Make sure your social media bio, header, avatar and website clearly showcase your latest music, as well as how to buy it. Divide your content into percentages. Remember to give your audience value and variety, this will be gamechanger for you and your music releases: 

Informative = 30% 

Entertainment = 30% 

Educational = 30% 

Advertising = 10% 

If you use the above points as a new foundation for your social media strategy, there are a number of options available to produce high quality content. While getting your music noticed is the primary concern, consider other popular cultures and hobbies that you can tap into via different media platforms that makes your audience want to get involved in. 

Ten suggestions

Try exploring the ten suggestions below and find ways to blend these seamlessly into your social media management. (Tip: devise a social media calendar for your media delivery to optimise productivity and regularity so that your audience are notified in advance).

1.  Podcasting

2. Blogging

3. Vlogging

4. Online Live Events (tip: find ways to get your band members and fans involved)

5. Virtual ‘Pub style’ Quiz (tip: get your fans involved with popular culture)

6. Tik Tok (tip: check out ‘Duets’)

7. Embrace Scarcity

8. Instagram/Facebook Stories

9. Engage Fans in Comments and Turn Them into Superfans

10. FB Advertising

There is no magic formula when it comes to achieving high reach with every post. Research your social media options and diversify your content accordingly. Because of this change in formula you will be noticed and reach a wider audience.

Try something different today and embrace your creativity. Don’t be afraid to try new things, even if they don’t always work.

If you interested in learning more and are serious about progressing in your career as a musician,  Order a Prospectus or Apply Now.

Music has always been at the forefront of social interaction. From the moment you start learning your chosen instrument, singing songs at school or jamming with your friends, music becomes the glue that brings people together. 

 But what if you can’t meet up with your band mates? What if the audience can’t come to you? 

 All is not lost. Welcome to the world of remote gigging, jamming and collaborating. Let me lead you through some of the things I’ve learnt while being a musician online and give you tips to help make your remote musical career a success. 

Roll up! Roll up! 

The thought of playing live over the internet is a daunting prospect, especially if you’re used to the traditional way of gigging in venues.  

However, there are a lot of similarities between the two. The more you think about your live stream as an event, the more you and your audience will get out of it. 

Something that won’t change much is the promotional side – you still must advertise any remote gig beforehand. Message your friends, create virtual gig posters and post on social media with plenty of time for people to plan their lives around seeing your show. An added advantage of remote gigging is that your audience don’t have to plan transport to the show or put aside large amounts of time. 

I have actually had people watch me play online who wouldn’t normally be able to see me play live, so you can really use this to your advantage. The audience may be more diverse due to them being in another country or perhaps they are socially anxious in crowds. 

Testing, testing, 1,2,3… 

Before even thinking about doing a virtual gig you need to address whether you can.  

I like to think of it as a remote soundcheck. Whilst planning any show, the main priority should be the audience end-user experience. For them to stay watching and engaged you need to give them as high a quality audio as you can. 

That’s not to say you need to go out and spend lots of money on expensive equipment. It could be as simple as making sure the microphone on your camera is in the right position if you’re streaming from your phone or making sure the levels are correct if you’re performing along to a pre-recorded track. 

Quite often your chosen social media platform is able to stream to just you. Use this feature to experiment with set ups before actually going live to an audience. You can ask friends and other musicians to critique the quality too, as its quite easy to get caught up in one aspect and miss something glaringly obvious. 

Lights, camera, action 

One thing I see time and time again when watching online shows is the lack of thought put into lighting and camera angles. This is just as important as the sound quality. Nobody wants to see you perform with your head half out of frame, your instrument too dark to see, and your dirty washing on the floor in the background. 

Let’s start with where you are performing from. If you are live streaming from your home, choose a room that is clutter free so that your audience can focus on you, not what’s going on in the background. Make sure the camera you are using is in focus, is framing you as a performer and all cabling is out of sight. Even if you haven’t got too much space, a clever camera angle can draw in the audience while hiding the fact that you may be playing in your bedroom. 

Finally, don’t forget about lighting. Much in the same way a traditional gig would be lit to enhance the performance, your remote gig needs to do the same. 

In an ideal world I’d recommend investing in some specialist lighting equipment with adjustable dimmers so you can adjust the light levels. However, some carefully placed lamps can do wonders in creating a mood. Remember, too little light and your audience won’t be able to see you properly. Too much light and you’ll look washed out on screen.  

Pass the virtual hat 

As you’ll be streaming your gig, you won’t be charging a ticket per se. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use it as a revenue stream. Don’t be put off asking for donations both before, during and after your show. I like to think of it as the virtual tip jar.  

Many streaming services allow you to link directly to PayPal for your audience to show their appreciation. Also, if you have merchandise to sell let people know about it.  

Sharing a link to your merch in between songs can work wonders in bringing in revenue as your audience see it as an alternative to paying a ticket price. 

Remember, even though you may not be getting a gig fee like you would do on a normal show there are no overheads (such as venue hire, transport costs etc) so any money you do make is pure profit. 

We’re jammin’ 

What if you want to jam and collaborate with other musicians remotely in real time? That’s where things start to get a bit trickier but with a change in mindset your creativity can flow even though you are miles apart. 

Even with all the technological advancements of the past few years you’ll eventually meet the terrors of latency and slow internet speeds. 

Latency is the delay between playing a note on your end and the person you are collaborating with hearing it their end. When you are playing a live streaming show this problem wont particularly matter as you aren’t having to play along with other musicians in another location. Plus, even if your audience hears your audio slightly later than you, they’re still hearing everything in time. 

However, if you try playing along to say a drummer while you are playing guitar over the internet then that latency means you are out of time with each other, making live remote jamming impossible in the traditional sense. 

The main culprit of this is slow internet speeds. The UK is notorious for slow upload speeds, meaning there will be a delay between you playing a note, it being uploaded to the internet and it being download by the other musician. 

The solution

If you can’t play together in real time, then what are your options?  Well I like to do a half and half approach. Have a live webchat or video conferencing call open between you while writing and bounce ideas between you. That way you can piece bits of a song together in stages and if you record your video call, you’ll never have that “What was that riff I just played?” moment ever again! 

Prepare any ideas you do have beforehand and send them to your fellow musicians. It gives them a chance to think about their own parts to contribute and I’ve found this approach is actually more likely to produce new ideas away from the distractions of the rehearsal space. 

The same approach can be applied to being a session musician and playing on other artists work. The majority of my session work is conducted from my small home studio, with the producer listening in to my performances while I record them my end. They can then give active feedback on what they would like from me and I can send them over the session files after, ready for them to mix and master. 

Put your money where your mouth is 

As I mentioned, this doesn’t mean you have to go out and spend lots of money. However, prioritising your spending on a few key areas can mean a huge jump in quality for both your audience and your fellow musicians. 

Here’s my top 5 things to spend your hard-earned cash on: 

Rapid internet 

The main cause of problems when streaming. If you can invest in a quick broadband or fibre optic internet connection with at least 10mbps it will make all the difference. Remember the faster the better. 

Sound 

A higher quality microphone, either via USB or through a recording interface, will be a big step up in clarity compared to your phone or laptop built-in microphone. Your audience needs to hear you clearly, otherwise they’ll just find something else to occupy their time. 

Lighting and room

Even a few inexpensive photography lights placed in key places will make any livestream look professional. Also think about adding some fairy lights to your background or a backdrop of some sort. It could be something as simple as a hung-up sheet, but it’ll make all the difference. 

Camera

A good webcam, action cam (e.g. GoPro) or small DSLR camera attached to your laptop will have an immediate impact on your video quality. Make sure it can capture at least 1080p. Anything less starts to look grainy or fuzzy. If you’re streaming on your phone perhaps invest in some lenses to go over your phone camera to give a more cinematic, less harsh feel to your shots. 

Time 

A strange thing to invest in I know but a few hours spent looking up other people’s livestreams, watching video tutorials and optimising your broadcasting settings will mean your performance is less likely to be plagued by technical difficulties. Practice a livestream beforehand to make sure everything works and that you can be seen and heard. 

 I hope you can make use of a few of these tips and that they help you avoid the potential pitfalls of remote streaming. I look forward to seeing you at your gig very soon, virtually. 

If you interested in learning more and are serious about progressing in your career as a musician,  Order a Prospectus or Apply Now.

With a DIY ethos you can really make things happen in the music industry. There are countless examples of bands who do not wait for things to happen for them, they take control of their own careers and future.

Hopefully, you see your band as a micro industry, and understand the consequent implications of this. Your job as a band is to create cool & current music, polish your live show and increase your audience size.

If you are confident about your musical output – the next step is the marketing of it.  Marketing is integral to the music industry. It accounts for a $1.7 Billion annual spend across the sector. Now, what does that mean for you?

Traditionally, this is where your label would kick in. To increase the reach of your music, a label uses a team of PR agents, digital marketing experts, social media gurus, pluggers and traditional marketing specialists. It’s a complicated business which doesn’t always have clear lines of cause and effect.

As a DIY artist, you will not have the same team as a major label – however you’ll have your band and you need to assign them marketing roles that play to their strengths. You also need to be realistic about your team’s available time, and what can be achieved.

An important aspect of a release campaign, that ultimately falls to the traditional and digital marketer, is securing attention from press, radio and blogs. This in turn increases your potential audience engagement. Looking specifically at blogs, each have their own preferred genres, which attracts their following and reach.  Remember, securing a blog is not the be all and end all, however, they are an important part of a campaign. Plus, a good review is always beneficial for band morale.

Submit your music here

Here is a curated list of blogs to get you started;

Stereo fox

Genre: Not specific

Indie Music Home

Genre: Indie /Alternative

Louder than war

Genre: Punk / Metal / Rock

The Line of Best fit

Genre: Alternative / Indie

Hear Ya

Genre: Indie / Rock / Folk / Pop

Indie88

Genre: Indie / Rock / Alternative

Tiny Mix Tapes

Genre: All

Gorilla Vs Bear

Genre: All

Velvet Independent

Genre: Electronic

Wolf in a Suit

Genre: Indie Pop & Rock

We All Really Want Some

Genre: All

Purple Melon Mu

Genre: Pop

I Heard A Whisper

Genre: Electronic

Drunken WereWolf

Genre: All

The Unsigned Guide

Genre: All

Pitchfork

Genre: All

A&R Factory

Genre: Various

All Music

Genre: Various

Aquarium Drunkard

Genre: Electronic

Amby

Genre: Indie / Commercial

Your EDM

Genre: Electronic

Acid Stag

Genre: Various

Upcoming Hip Hop

Genre: Hip Hop

GigList

Genre: Various

Alfitude

Genre: Various

If you're interested in learning more and are serious about progressing in your career as a musician, please join us at WaterBear HQ for an Open Day or Order a Prospectus.

 

Getting your music on Spotify playlists is an increasingly popular way of generating plays for your releases. This means DIY artists can pitch their music to both official and unofficial playlist curators without needing to go down the more ‘traditional’ route. This can save a lot of time and money and will give you more control over your releases. Alternatively, you can pay for someone to do your online PR. They will draw upon their own contacts and knowledge of the streaming world, and pitch to playlists on your behalf.

Securing those playlist slots is now a fundamental part of artist promotion. But it’s not necessarily plain sailing, there’s always the chance that it won’t work in your favour. So, remember to assess a curator’s intentions and the potential value to your career.

How important are streaming statistics?

Like any PR you or your band go for, pitching to playlists does not necessarily equal plays. Any PR service can offer you the opportunity to have your music pitched to hundreds of playlists, so try not to get drawn in by that. What’s important is the quality of their relationships with playlist curators and their understanding of the landscape. It’s a possibility that you’ll only land a small percentage of those pitches.

Now, as a hypothetical question; ‘If you have 10,000 plays on Spotify yet you struggle to fill a small venue in your hometown, are you a successful original artist?'

This is not to say that 10,000 plays aren’t positive, however it’s good to keep in mind that Spotify playlisting is just one aspect in an artist’s overall career. Let's say £1000 buys you an online PR campaign that includes creating and distributing a press release, playlist pitching, and blog pitching. There is undoubtedly value in the service, but always consider where your career is at, and whether that money can serve you in a smarter way at that moment in time.

Some practical tips

With the warnings and guidance out of the way, let’s move onto some practical tips for playlist success…

Update your Spotify bio and profile

Make sure you have up-to-date high-resolution photos, a well-written bio and an actively updated profile. This creates an air of professionalism and if you take yourself seriously, it’s likely the playlist curators will as well.

Then, when emailing curators – send your press release along with links to your Spotify. Check out this blog on how to write your press release.

Minimise your overheads and PR spend

PR can start running into the thousands so if you are DIY, you need to consider the ‘cost to benefit’ ratio. If you can do a job yourself – do it, save the cash and spend it on recording, new gear or your tour support. You can do very well simply by doing your research and essentially creating your own ‘little black book’. See how other bands and artists you admire are doing it if they’re at a similar level to you. Get creative with it.

Be organised

If you do decide to do your first wave of pitching to playlists – I salute you. Below are links to support you through that journey. A word to the wise however, keep it organised. A spreadsheet for your contacts will allow you to prevent repeating yourself and help you keep track of who you’ve contacted in those initial campaigns.

If you are feeling ready, here are links to curated playlists you can submit your music to - good luck!

Spotify playlists

Indie Mono

Genre: Everything judged by merit.

Soundplate

Genre: A wide range of individually curated playlists.

Workhard Playlist

Genre: Multiple independent playlists covering a variety of genres.

Musicto

Genre: Multiple genres categorised on moods rather than genre.

For the Love of Bands

Genre: Indie/alternative/guitars.

Spotify

Genre: Everything and anything.

SubmitHub

Genres: A variety dependant on individual curators.

Soave Records

Genres: Electronic/house/pop.

Daily Playlists

Genres: Everything and anything.

MySphera

Genre: Pretty much anything you can think of!

VGM & R

Genre: New music.

SongPickr

Genre: Warm, vintage, organic.

The List (Rock-Out)

Genre: Rock (although other genres are on the main site).

Drop Track

Genre: Various

Today, I want to talk about how to make £100 a day on Merch. Having a career in music is dependent on sustainability, and in my book, this is the key to professional freedom.

The thing is we live in an age where music is essentially free, streaming royalties are very insignificant and people are still using P2P file sharing. This is why merchandise is incredibly important, it makes your performance career and studio output sustainable. Suddenly, your recorded music that normally has very little commercial online value, is worth £10 again on the merch stand.  It’s a high margin and a serious product. Let's find out how to make the absolute most out of your merch table’s potential.

Tip no.1 - understand the core business of merch

Selling merch at the gig

 Whilst it’s tempting to be creative with potential formats of merch, the big sellers are still going to be your t-shirts. As attractive as vinyl is, it will sit there, and you will still sell more CD’s. This is not due to playability but it’s a handy thing to get the band to sign.

By all means, if you want to create lighters, cigarette papers or more novelty items and have them on the stand, do it! They are good talking points and you may sell a few. However, when you look at the tour accounts, you’ll see the big sellers are t-shirts and CDs.

 So, that’s the gig, however this video is all about making £100 per day from merchandise. The stand works on the road. You only need to sell ten t-shirts for £10 and you have made the one hundred. What about the days where you are not touring?

Selling merch on the website

On your downtime you can sell an awful lot of Merchandise from the band website, or if you must, a digital distribution platform. There is a different headspace here, you’ll see more exciting merchandise with higher prices playing a part. People in bands can take a few tips from Youtubers, who are putting out items with much higher design quality, higher prices, and a larger margin.

At the end of the day, what you are selling, is cool. People will spend anything to buy in a bit of cool for themselves. This is an opportunity to take YouTube standards, apply it to band merchandise and elevate your product. Consequently, this could lead you to sell £100 of Merch a day. It’s just a question of the design being good enough and providing value.

Tip no.2 - keep ownership of your merch business

While it can be attractive to take an advance from a merchandise company, you will lose control of your item's price points. Nobody can look after fans like the band can. If you are swayed by that advance, get the calculator out and work out how much that money is costing. Common sense will take you back to the point of doing it yourself. A direct relationship with your fan is the key to financial security.

That also goes for distribution, fans usually prefer to buy direct from the band. If you farm this out to a digital distribution platform, you’ll make less, and the customer service cannot be as good. They will also charge you 15% of the gross, so you will lose money.

 There is an opportunity here, if you are sending out most of your merch directly and making the most out of the financial side of the deal, you can go the extra mile and demonstrate value with small touches such as sending a nice little handwritten note from the band. This is a very different transaction than doing it through a third party. The bands I have spoken to say that they have sold an extra 25% from their site as opposed to a digital distribution platform because of the direct fan relationship. Loyal fans will come back time and time again, you’ll get a rebound effect and your sales will stack.

 Your only limitation here is energy and creativity. This could easily be developed into a clothing brand, why have one t-shirt when you could have twenty? You can develop a back catalog - remember you cannot download t-shirts. A T-Shirt is still an item with real physical value, so let’s make the most of it.   

Tip no.3 - your best friend is the calculator

Even a mid-level band could easily shift a few thousand CD’s and five hundred t-shirts with an album launch. That’s £25,000 gross with a relativity high margin. This type of money will keep your band in rehearsals, it will pay for the design and a couple of videos and that’s just in the first week of sales.

 There is still money in music, and there is still money in DIY music. There is a long-term future in that direct relationship with a small group of superfans. A great quality merch stand that is pinned is a really good investment at this point. To keep you going, here is a list of recommended merch manufacturers;

 My Custom Band Merch - http://www.mycustombandmerch.com/

 Awesome Merchandise - https://www.awesomemerchandise.com/

 Octomuffin - https://www.octomuffin.co.uk/

 Impericon - https://www.impericon.com/uk/

 Flood Print - http://www.flood-print.co.uk/

 Bands on a Budget - https://www.bandsonabudget.com/

Where do we go from here?

You now have an understanding of the core business, products and figures, you have a great design, you have established a distribution network, and perhaps even an overarching clothing brand. You may be getting excited as this is where the money is. Merchandise is not just part of the game; it is THE game.

 Now is the point where you can be creative, bands have produced merchandise that ranges from teabags to tea towels to coffee to beer and to the more bizarre. Put any suggestions you have seen in the comments below and do let me know what sold well for your band.

 Thanks for reading, if you interested in learning more and are serious about progressing in your career as a musician please join us at WaterBear HQ for an Open Day or Order a Prospectus

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