The importance of merchandise
These days clubs are not paying a lot of cash to local bands. Since any good time charlie with a detuned squire strat can write a heavy riff in drop D , make an iron on T shirt ,start a facebook page and call his group a band. Club owners are overwhelmed with plenty of novice bands who will play for next to nothing(if not free). This means good bands with integrity get pushed to the side to make way for cheap or free entertainment. So if you’re a good band who still wants to get out there and play shows for the fans, the best way to make it worth your time is selling goods.
Most importantly is your music. A well recorded and well packaged CD is essential if you expect anyone to remember your band the next time you have a show. Chances are you’re not going to get $10 for your music. Think of making your music affordable an investment in your future as a band. Cover the expenses of manufacturing, but don’t expect people to pay overwhelming amounts of cash for a local band CD. $5.00 for a full length disk is a good price.
Everyone likes a cool shirt. A catchy logo will help you sell shirts, hats, ladies underwear, key chains, bags, pins, stickers, headbands, wristbands, original band art, prints and posters, nearly anything you can get your logo on. Again keep them priced to move! Run through that box of shirts fast. Afterall its free advertising for your band and it gets your logo out there. If you learn anything from hollywood its the importance of branding. Get yourself out there!!!
A professional merch booth set up is also a good idea. People are trained to be consumers. They will be way more likely to buy something that looks like it came from their favorite indy record store than if you just have your shirts laying on a dark card table. Lighting effects, well displayed merch, multi media(laptop or digital picture frame with pics or videos of the band and your previous shows). And yes even an attractive ,interesting and outgoing sales person will boost sales.
Get a banner to hang behind the band while you play. This will drive home your branding and lets people who didn’t come to see you know what your band name is. If you walk in a club and set up like you’re a major label band on its american tour, you may be one step closer to exactly that.Keep working and save your money for more gear ,more merch ,more branding