promo kits, business cards, and a diary to book more
gigs--you do want to go back, don't you?
plenty of copies of your set list, IN LARGE
TYPE! Make sure everyone in the band has
one--don't forget the soundman too.
gig kit that contains: pens & markers, plenty of
tape (gaffa, masking, scotch). A staple gun could be
handy, together with glue & tacks. This way you
can make posters or signs if you need to, and stick
them up around the gig.
your merchandise (CDs, T-shirts, pens, whatever) from
a well presented & attended stall. Remind people
they can get your CD from the table at the back. Get
a mailing list together--don't forget to collect
their email addresses--cheaper than snailmail!
some B&W pictures of the band printed for
giveaways and autographing. Make sure your band name
medical kit: band-aids, headache tablets, throat
lozenges, antiseptic, maybe even vitamin tablets,
ginseng, caffeine or whatever gets you through! Don't
forget sweat towels.
spare batteries, strings and fuses.
biz legend has it that James sold more t-shirts than
records at a particularly low point in their career.
(They also participated in drug trials to make some
desperately needed cash, but that's another story.)
While it's an amusing tale to tell, whether true or
not, it nevertheless shows good business sense. Buy a
t-shirt for two pounds and sell it for seven. Sell 10
in a night and you've covered your petrol costs.
You've also paid a cheap price for what are
effectively walking billboards advertising you.
fairly elementary stuff, admittedly, but it still
works wonders. In their heyday, the now sadly defunct
Carter USM were masters of highly collectible (and
profitable) T-shirts emblazoned with one of their
mandatory puns. "Come On Baby, Light My
Fag" brought much hilarity to 1991's Reading
fun (and money) was to be had when Carter did a
pastiche of that other legendary T-shirt, the
Inspiral Carpets' "Cool As Fuck" number.
Carter responded to the then BSE crisis with the
witty riposte of "Mad As Fuck", featuring
the Inspiral Carpets' distinctive Cow Records logo.
They even gave a boost to Therapy?'s profile by
adapting their logo and adding Jim-Bob's distinctive
fringe. Needless to say, Therapy? were dead chuffed
about the free advertising.
Inspiral Carpets also benefitted from press stories
about people reportedly being stopped by the police
for wearing supposedly offensive material. A slightly
more expensive idea was to have their "Moo"
logo put onto milk bottles. God knows what housewives
made of that first thing in the morning.
is all very amusing, but the Inspiral Carpets, Carter
and James hit on a fundamental point of successful
marketing: the distinctive design. Businesses pay
major fortunes for their "branding", ie the
logo that everyone wants plastered across numerous
chests. Come up with a good one and you're halfway
mate who's a recent graphic design graduate to help
out. (You can sort out the financial arrangements
later if you get hugely famous, heh-heh.) Even people
who aren't into the band can be suckers for a good
design. And the many music snobs out there like to
get their hands on a cool t-shirt from a little-known
band who could, one day, be very famous.
promotional value of merchandising can be limitless.
The Sweeney have built up a reputation for quirky
promotional ideas that, thankfully, don't rely on
Ford Granadas and beige polyester. They've been using
a running theme based on old 1950s cartoons and pulp
merchandising, everyone wants to get their hands on
the cash. If you've moved up a few rungs and start
playing in larger venues, beware because a lot of
bigger venues charge you a site fee for selling
merchandise which can be up to 40 per cent. The good
old T-shirt is still a mainstay and reasonably priced
if you order a minimum of about 50 shirts which, on a
reasonably sized tour, you should be able to sell.
And you plough that back into buying more.If you've
yet to release an album, selling decent quality
tapes/CDs at gigs is worth the effort. It's worth
putting some thought into the art work so it doesn't
look too cheesy and instantly disposable.
decide to sell properly released CDs, keep in mind
that they won't register in overall album sales
figures, although the money would certainly come in
handy.With the craze for collecting just about
anything in the hope that it might be of value in the
future, coming up with an innovative idea could put
your product in the Millers Antiques Guide of 2020.
Well, maybe not, but think of how much merchandise
the Beatles came up with in the '60s and how much
it's worth now. Beatle-stamped tea towels and table
lamps are fetching a fortune nowadays.