Merchandising Tip: Make Something COLLECTABLE

Ro Spit Collector Set
Ro Spit Collector Set

All right, here is where I draw my line in the sand. I am no longer interested in buying any physical product that does not have any sort of creative effort put into it. I do not care how nice the artist is or how much they need it. I want a personal touch to your CD, t-shirt, flash drive, coffee mug, etc. Otherwise, any requests for my hard-earned money for physical objects will be ignored. Now I will probably still buy your album digitally if it is terrific, but more than likely that is going to be a slower income stream for you. Therefore, if you want get the most immediate bang-for-your-buck from a music buyer like me, then you must have merchandise that is worth the space it takes up on my shelf.

There is a reason I celebrate the Masters of Content, because the exalted supply their fans with goods they are actually happy to have/see.

When giving examples of music acts that have cool swag to buy, there is always the criticism of “those guys can afford to do that. Little guys like [us] cannot.” Here is the deal, folks. You are supposed be creative, so BE CREATIVE/RESOURCEFUL! You could easily come up with cheaply-made customized materials that would be worth more to someone than a regular, cold piece of plastic pressed up with a single sheet insert. I am even going to go one step further with this and give a free suggestion. Being green is in, so recycling is really cool right now. Consider your possibilities.

According to Mike King, author of Music Marketing: Press, Promotion, Distribution and Retail, there are 3 basic things that a music act should have as far as merchandise to sell:

  • recordings
  • t-shirts
  • posters

If roll with this ideology, then there is still plenty of room to create distinct items. CDs do not have to be placed in a jewel case. T-shirts do not need to carry your band’s logo on it. Posters can be handmade; heck, so can CDs and t-shirts.

Know of any clever merchandise concepts that you have seen to share with curious artists?

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  • http://eleetmusic.com Kevin English

    Hubert my man. I followed a RT from @refeup and thought I’d leave my mark. Great post. I’m thinking anything that can be wrapped up and put under the Christmas tree would work as a band collectible. A monogrammed Tea Kettle, Bonsai Tree, old school Music Box that plays your record when your turn the handle, a pair of customized Air Force One/Dunks courtesy of your local airbrush artist, Stemware, headphones, you name it dude. The list goes on and on. Regardless of the fact, bravo for bringing this to light. If artists want your money…they have to earn it!

    • http://fryinginvein.com Hubert Sawyers III

      Kevin, thanks for your comment. I’ve been following your blog for some time. Glad to have you around these parts!

      Let’s be clear that an artist needs to know what their fan base will actually want to buy from them. Creativity is great, but if you’re a hip hop artist and your fans don’t even know what a tea kettle looks like that may not be a great item to make. I know people are going to think I want them cashing out on knick-knacks. That is so far from the truth. Make sure it is relevant everyone!

      Thanks again, Kevin!

      • http://eleetmusic.com Kevin English

        Agreed. However, I listen to hip hop….tons of it and I like tea.
        .-= Kevin English´s last blog ..How To Get Your Music on Rock Band =-.

        • http://fryinginvein.com Hubert Sawyers III

          ha ha ha! I also listen to tons of hip hop and drink lots of tea. I actually host a weekly meetup in Metro Detroit called #tweetea. It’s the longest-running weekly “tweetup” we have going around here. All hail the bonding power of tea!

  • http://eleetmusic.com Kevin English

    Hubert my man. I followed a RT from @refeup and thought I’d leave my mark. Great post. I’m thinking anything that can be wrapped up and put under the Christmas tree would work as a band collectible. A monogrammed Tea Kettle, Bonsai Tree, old school Music Box that plays your record when your turn the handle, a pair of customized Air Force One/Dunks courtesy of your local airbrush artist, Stemware, headphones, you name it dude. The list goes on and on. Regardless of the fact, bravo for bringing this to light. If artists want your money…they have to earn it!

    • http://fryinginvein.com Hubert Sawyers III

      Kevin, thanks for your comment. I’ve been following your blog for some time. Glad to have you around these parts!

      Let’s be clear that an artist needs to know what their fan base will actually want to buy from them. Creativity is great, but if you’re a hip hop artist and your fans don’t even know what a tea kettle looks like that may not be a great item to make. I know people are going to think I want them cashing out on knick-knacks. That is so far from the truth. Make sure it is relevant everyone!

      Thanks again, Kevin!

      • http://eleetmusic.com Kevin English

        Agreed. However, I listen to hip hop….tons of it and I like tea.
        .-= Kevin English´s last blog ..How To Get Your Music on Rock Band =-.

        • http://fryinginvein.com Hubert Sawyers III

          ha ha ha! I also listen to tons of hip hop and drink lots of tea. I actually host a weekly meetup in Metro Detroit called #tweetea. It’s the longest-running weekly “tweetup” we have going around here. All hail the bonding power of tea!

  • Eli Heiss

    I think apparel is where it’s at, but like you said it’s dependent to what’s “relevant” to the fans of an artist – differing by what makes the artist unique to the fans, etc.

    I see Stones Throw pushing the unique vinyl copies to their fans, because most Stones Throw fans are vinyl heads, so every copy of the LP has unique artwork to it.

    Thinking longterm, if the music stands the test of time and attains a cult-like status (like what Quasimoto has), they are setting themselves up for finding some lone rich fan down the line wanting to have all of the uniquely designed copies (Cha-ching).

    If more people followed this logic, the merchandise could be a very rewarding thing for artists in the long run, but who’s to say how long it’d take for it to really become rewarding, so maybe thinking temporary is the better model to follow.

    Something that’ll increase value with time is what I’d stress, but it’d be different for every artist. I just think things like hoodies and other seasonal wear will better stand the test of time, but maybe if an artist were marketed right to a certain demographic they could sell temporary items like tea bags (LOL).

    There are YouTubers who host weekly shows following topics such as tea. If they could guest host a show or something, and maybe put out some tea bagger music (LOL). Then come out with an official line of tea bags. hahaha

    That just sounds mad funny. Hilarity!

    I like the way YouTube, Facebook, etc., are expanding to incorporate one another in the long run, because in the end there isn’t going to be one massive Web site we all subscribe to. So by being able to login to your blog through my Facebook login, it’ll make it easier for us to connect and build on ideas.

    Apply this to networking with other people like on YouTube who host a channel you have a vested interest in for an artist you are managing, it’ll make for new connections to be made much smoother and easier.

    This is a great topic to discuss with other like-minded cats. Good stuff, Hubert!

  • Eli Heiss

    I think apparel is where it’s at, but like you said it’s dependent to what’s “relevant” to the fans of an artist – differing by what makes the artist unique to the fans, etc.

    I see Stones Throw pushing the unique vinyl copies to their fans, because most Stones Throw fans are vinyl heads, so every copy of the LP has unique artwork to it.

    Thinking longterm, if the music stands the test of time and attains a cult-like status (like what Quasimoto has), they are setting themselves up for finding some lone rich fan down the line wanting to have all of the uniquely designed copies (Cha-ching).

    If more people followed this logic, the merchandise could be a very rewarding thing for artists in the long run, but who’s to say how long it’d take for it to really become rewarding, so maybe thinking temporary is the better model to follow.

    Something that’ll increase value with time is what I’d stress, but it’d be different for every artist. I just think things like hoodies and other seasonal wear will better stand the test of time, but maybe if an artist were marketed right to a certain demographic they could sell temporary items like tea bags (LOL).

    There are YouTubers who host weekly shows following topics such as tea. If they could guest host a show or something, and maybe put out some tea bagger music (LOL). Then come out with an official line of tea bags. hahaha

    That just sounds mad funny. Hilarity!

    I like the way YouTube, Facebook, etc., are expanding to incorporate one another in the long run, because in the end there isn’t going to be one massive Web site we all subscribe to. So by being able to login to your blog through my Facebook login, it’ll make it easier for us to connect and build on ideas.

    Apply this to networking with other people like on YouTube who host a channel you have a vested interest in for an artist you are managing, it’ll make for new connections to be made much smoother and easier.

    This is a great topic to discuss with other like-minded cats. Good stuff, Hubert!

  • http://eleetmusic.com Kevin English

    You heard it here first. Tea bags are the future of music merchandising. Thanks again for the post. I’m feeling the comment luv plug in too!
    .-= Kevin English´s last blog ..Artists and the Economic Recession =-.

  • http://eleetmusic.com Kevin English

    You heard it here first. Tea bags are the future of music merchandising. Thanks again for the post. I’m feeling the comment luv plug in too!
    .-= Kevin English´s last blog ..Artists and the Economic Recession =-.

  • http://hand-raiser.com Therran Oliphant

    Favorite line: “if you want get the most immediate bang-for-your-buck from a music buyer like me, then you must have merchandise that is worth the space it takes up on my shelf.”

    So true, but all businesses are the same – swag, merch, whatever you call it is the same all over.” It has to be novel, creative, and integrated with your overall brand to move the needle for your larger product (your business, you, etc) in any meaningful way. Great post.
    .-= Therran Oliphant´s last blog ..In 2010: Respect your Prospect =-.

    • http://fryinginvein.com Hubert Sawyers III

      Pretty much all the advice I give here comes out of the general business standards and practices manual, but artists don’t tend to look at their products in a business-like fashion. They might know they need merchandise to make money, but they don’t understand the practical thought that goes into creating a product. I guess that’s why it’s artistic. LOL

      Thanks for your comment, bro – welcome to Frying in Vein!

  • http://hand-raiser.com Therran Oliphant

    Favorite line: “if you want get the most immediate bang-for-your-buck from a music buyer like me, then you must have merchandise that is worth the space it takes up on my shelf.”

    So true, but all businesses are the same – swag, merch, whatever you call it is the same all over.” It has to be novel, creative, and integrated with your overall brand to move the needle for your larger product (your business, you, etc) in any meaningful way. Great post.
    .-= Therran Oliphant´s last blog ..In 2010: Respect your Prospect =-.

    • http://fryinginvein.com Hubert Sawyers III

      Pretty much all the advice I give here comes out of the general business standards and practices manual, but artists don’t tend to look at their products in a business-like fashion. They might know they need merchandise to make money, but they don’t understand the practical thought that goes into creating a product. I guess that’s why it’s artistic. LOL

      Thanks for your comment, bro – welcome to Frying in Vein!

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