Musicians are getting really creative when it comes to merch offerings

[This was this week’s column for GlobalNews.ca. – AC]

Musicians have been taking it in the neck ever since the coronavirus began to wreak havoc on the music industry. Income from CDs dropped further from their pre-pandemic levels. Income from vinyl is negligible except for a very lucky few. Streaming brings in a little money, it’s not enough for most to live on. Some artists may get lucky by scoring a deal to place their songs in a TV commercial, but that doesn’t happen very often.

And the biggest hit of all has come from the near-complete eradication live performances. No tours. No concerts. No live anything for the foreseeable future.

This means it’s time to get creative with new revenue streams.

Every artist has some measure of brand equity. The trick is to commodify that equity in a way that can be turned into quick cash. This is where merchandising opportunities come in.

Since the pandemic set in back in the spring, we’ve seen a flood of interesting, fun, and occasionally weird band-branded swag. Here are some of my favourites.

Keep reading. And after I submitted my column, I realized I’d forgotten to include Anthrax hand sanitizer. And comic books. Don’t forget them.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Musicians are getting really creative when it comes to merch offerings

  • October 5, 2020 at 9:55 am
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    I’m enjoying some of the inevitable masks put out by bands, but I wish they were more create/abstract … rather than just pasting the logo on your face. Like THE STONE ROSES plastered in the middle of your face. It would be so much more awesome if they just used the cover art motifs.

    Reply

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