Becoming a fan of an artist or band or even beyond the means of music such as film franchises, books and lately YouTubers. When you progressively develop as a supporter of a particular thing, the will to express your interest, passion, and devotion will go into overdrive. Within music, it is known that established artists who release frequent music and tour the world will bring out new merchandise typically for every new event in their career or coincide with seasonal periods such as Halloween, valentines day or Christmas as well as having a staple collection. Items such as t-shirts, caps, flags, hoodies, key rings and bracelets are essential products that can be found in any band or soloists merchandise range. With one of the best way artists sell of merchandise being through concerts that form a tour and new album release bundles sometimes these branded clothing and accessories can come with an arguably shocking price tag. With this price tag always a deciding factor when music enthusiasts make the sometimes painful transaction just to grab a bit of merch to physically show their affection for an artist the question still begs as to whether an artists merchandise is really worth the price?
The merchandising process is more complex than the cover suggests
When you think of the word merchandise the first thing that typically springs to many minds is a collection of goods that are chosen, designed, produced and sold by a company, franchise, store or in this case soloists or band. But the whole process of getting merchandise and generating an income from this stream is a longer story than meets they eye more in cases of artists with grander scale fan bases. Firstly, securing a separate deal with a tour merchandiser who will act like another pair of hands with their job being to take care of all the licenses and will contact designers to get your merch design to the venues or websites designated. Usually after the elongated process and finally when the cash starts flowing and purchases start happening, artists will then go on to receive a percentage of all revenue generated but with a number of parties involved in the creation of merch it can get complicated. You would be looking at between a 20%-30% slice of the merchandising pie but with venue fees, staff wages, even the record label dependant upon your deal and of course the merchandiser all wanting in on the gross income by going through this entire journey isn’t it worth the artists while to charge the £25 price t-shirt tag?
It can be an excellent form of self-expression for an individual
Fandoms of artists tend to be in their thousands judging through their venues on tour being filled to the brim and their social medias having hundreds of thousands of virtual followers and even though in real life at times it may feel like you are the only individual who classifies themselves as a Directioner or are a long life supporter of Fall Out Boy by simply purchasing a piece of merchandise even though it could feel like you are paying the earth just for a t-shirt with the bands motif embedded it can be a discrete yet powerful form of connection between yourself and other fans. Not too long ago I stepped into a vegan cafe wearing a piece of Blink merch and in no time at all, myself and the girl behind the counter was in a full blown conversation about members of the band all thanks to the hoodie with the smiley face followed up by the genuine crappy punk rock slogan. Even though it may seem expensive to pay for a conversation but it can be the most rewarding and bonding thing between two or more fans of the same music.
Merch can come in all types of income streams
Items of clothing, accessories and even homeware items that fall under an artists merchandise range can be stocked and sold in many different outlet streams. For example temporary pop-up stores, merch stalls at tours, music scene shops like HMV and of course the artist’s web store this can essentially help to expand not only the artist’s name but a number of income streams that the artist can generate revenue and money from. With the amount of different strategies, artists can utilize nowadays can tend to revolve all year around, for example, an artists tour will last a couple on months, a pop-up store for a fortnight during the summertime and long lasting ways like outlet music stores and the artists own website online can be permanent fixtures. With merchandise being sold throughout various ways this only means one thing. That the chance of reigning in more money is greater.
It can prove to be a lucrative market. Or can it?
For musicians and artists alike through the career, they have there can be some highly lucrative markets and forms of income streams that can be generously profitable and beneficial. Tour merchandising overall can be one of the most effortless ways of buying in bulk selling at a maximum price is the general moral despite the painfully long wait for the picking, designing, producing, receiving and selling. With merch being designed especially during the stint of an artist tour and money made front this can be the strategy artists rely on to cover the costs of their tours if the profit margin grows substantially. On the contrary in the age of multi rights no matter what income an artists receive it is always split with a second party if not more and even if the financial forecast says one figure when the money goes into the artists bank account it could mean another by the time you have received you cut of the costs when you have to take into account factors such as upfront cost before the tour finance comes rolling in.
What do you readers think do you believe an artists merch is extaushinately overpriced or do you think you get what you pay for which you see as reasonable for the quality and design. Or are you like me and are still sitting on the merchandise fence both agreeing and disagreeing with the statement? Let me know your thoughts, views, and opinions along with your most treasured piece of merchandise you possess from an artist, for example, my favorite piece of clothing I own is a zip up hoodie from the Blink-182 California tour from the London date back in July.