When it comes to the music industry and how money is generated, it goes without saying that merchandise sold by bands and their management is a lucrative business in recent times. Bands and musicians have a universal appeal, and global reach, that many other industries can only dream of, and the IFPI reported total global music worth US$19.1 billion last year which is an incredible amount.
Since we now have instant access to new music online, merchandise is becoming more popular than ever. Why? Because music is something we can all relate to, we don’t all have to enjoy the same type of music but with modern media, and how the online world works the music industry is evolving faster than it ever has, with no signs of slowing down.
Sold online, at gigs, or more recently at pop up shops (thanks to Fall Out Boy creating a Pop Up Shop in New York a few years ago), merchandise and products are a gold mine, and when it comes to fans parting with their hard-earned cash there seems to be a “take my money” attitude which is pretty exciting for all of those creators and artists putting time and effort into their merch!
Pop-up shops have been appearing in many places recently, and according to Rolling Stone, there have, in recent times, been claims made by some stars that merchandise can raise upwards of $1 million in two days, just from a one-off pop up shop. It goes without saying that’s not a number to be taken lightly. Obviously, when a loyal fan’s favourite band brings out a new album, it’s only natural that they are going to want to get themselves kitted out in all of the merch they can lay their hands on. It’s their way of showing their support for their chosen entertainer and catching the most up to date designs at the same time. It’s reported that 2016 saw sales of $3.1 billion, which is 10% more than the previous year, so clearly, the merch industry, alongside the music industry itself, is seeing a shift. But it isn’t in the direction people imagined, especially since the decline of CD sales sent the industry into a state of panic a few years back.
But other than clothing what surprising band merchandise can be found? Are we going to be witnessing more pop-up merchandise shops in the future and who is leading the way when it comes to merchandise and products?
At one end of the scale we have seen $1000+ boots from Kanye West, and Canada Goose bomber jackets for a similar price tag from Drake, and then we see the other side of merchandise in the form of a beanie from Billie Eilish for $15. Arguably this means the entire market is covered and merch is accessible to all, no matter who your favourite musician or band is or the budget you have to work with there is something for everyone! Gone are the days where you would have two souvenir T-shirt options at a gig and that was it, you can now order designs directly online, with many options, so you can forget the days of a simple logo on a T-shirt as your only option, we’re now seeing the creativity from our musicians in the beautiful designs on the merchandise that’s on offer.
Surprisingly, you can even incorporate a love of Motorhead into an online slot or two, Bingoport features lists of sites offering online slots, such as a 76-payline slot game featuring an Ace of Spades wild? Why not! Simply set up a new account, place your bid and let the reels spin. There are plenty of online slot games to choose from, but if there is one designed with the die-hard fan in mind, that’s always going to be a winner.
Since it’s 2019, it’s worth mentioning that the rise of personalised phone cases has been remarkable too! It would be unusual to see a mega-fan without a phone case featuring their favourite band or artist now, and like anything else merch related it makes a statement when fans are going about their daily lives. Also, the new groundbreaking app Sidestep (which has received investment from Lared Leto and Beyoncé) now allows fans to purchase merchandise before a gig and collect it when they get there, no more waiting in long queues to be told you can’t have that one T-shirt you desperately needed! As with anything, keeping up with the times and using modern technology will always benefit a business or brand in the long run, and especially since Panic! At the Disco’s manager recently reported that at least 30% of their latest tour’s profit came directly from the merchandise.
Beats by Dre is a testament to this, with 2018 seeing a collaboration between Beats by Dre and the NBA which really catapulted merchandise into a new category altogether, headphones and speakers created by a rapper? Why didn’t we think of that sooner? Dre is now, according to Forbes, the second wealthiest rapper and the only headphones that have come close in recent times to the BeatsbyDre headphones is Apple’s very own earpods, that’s got to be considered a massive win in the merch world!
Due to the many opportunities available to the new and talented emerging artists, there is also a new generation of musicians launching their own music on various platforms such as Youtube and Facebook too, which leads to further opportunities to sell merch after creating it themselves too! Now selling merch isn’t just for those people that top the charts, but also for those emerging artists that may have a relatively small following, for now.
There are new technologies and designs, new music and tours being created right now, and it is exciting to think where things may lead in the future, will we see more unique and innovative collaborations?