Bands and musicians can explore several avenues beyond gigs and merch sales to make money. Creativity and uniqueness is key when selling a product or a service. Therefore, look beyond band T-shirts, mugs, buttons and stickers to stand out from the crowd. Provide products that fans would love to purchase.
Below are six creative products you can add to your band merch to make money:
1. Customize songs for fans
You can write personalized songs for fans. Some of your die-hard fans would be willing to spend for this unique service. For instance, Canadian band, The Elwins, offered customized songs to fans prior to the release of their album, Play for Keeps. The service was available in limited quantity. Fans could get the band to write a personalized song for $150.
2. Create a membership site
Create a membership website to provide exclusive information to fans. For instance, you could upload unreleased songs, interviews, behind-the-scene concert footage, images, live chat sessions and unpublished videos. In addition, you could also give special access to new music, exclusive blog posts and contests. In essence, offer members information and services they cannot get anywhere.
Membership sites are a great way to get monthly recurring payments. In addition, the set-up is fairly simple. All you need is a WordPress blog, a PayPal business account, a membership plugin and you are good to go.
3. Publish an official fan book
Publish a book detailing your journey to success. You can include exclusive photos, handwritten notes and inspiring lyrics in the book. For instance, One Direction released an official book titled “Where We Are: Our Band Our Story”. The book, which is essentially the band’s autobiography, details the band’s journey since 2012. The band members have mentioned the places they visited, fans they met, their thoughts and feelings, hopes, dreams, highs and lows. The book features backstage photos, handwritten annotations and an insight into the band’s world. The book has been a huge success among die-hard One Direction fans.
4. Provide music lessons
Provide music lessons to fans over Skype or Google Hangouts on a first-come-first-serve basis. You can also record music tutorials to sell online. Create quality video tutorials and provide download codes to buyers. This way, users will be able to download the online tutorials to their drives.
5. Offer house concerts to fans
House concerts are one of the most lucrative direct-to-fans music promotional models. House concerts have several advantages for independent musicians to grow a fan base as well as a revenue. First, you omit paying a commission to external promoters and booking agents. Second, booking is fairly easier. You just have to reach out to your die-hard fans to get yourself booked. Finally, you reach a new target demographic. For instance, Shannon Curtis, an independent alternative pop recording artist and performer, has performed close to 250 house concerts since 2011. She is also the author of a best selling book, ‘How I Made $25K On A 2-Month House Concert Tour’. According to Shannon, house concerts have helped sell more CDs and merchandise, get more email subscribers and grow her community faster.
What are you waiting for? Go ahead and book yourself a house concert soon!
6. Sell limited edition artwork
Create limited edition album covers for sale. If you are artistically inclined, you can hand create prints yourself. If not, you can sign a deal with a famous artist to hand-paint your album art. For instance, Coldplay along with artist Pilar Zeta released original and limited edition art for Coldplay’s 7th album release, A Head Full of Dreams.
There’s a ton of cool products and services that bands can sell to their fans. Bands must explore and experiment with different ideas that would bring in more revenue. Follow the above ideas to come up with innovative strategies of your own.
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Manasa Boggaram is a writer and has a strong passion for music, positive news and constructive journalism. When she is not researching story ideas or writing blog posts, she spends her time reading books, discovering new music and eating lots of street food.