[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.