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Making Money with Music

Lesson 17 of 35

Unique Merch Ideas & How to Sell

Randy Chertkow, Jason Feehan

Making Money with Music

Randy Chertkow, Jason Feehan

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Lesson Info

17. Unique Merch Ideas & How to Sell

Lesson Info

Unique Merch Ideas & How to Sell

Well, what else can you sell? Let's? Go beyond this, you're not limited to just what the march on demands sites create. In fact, the best some of the best ideas we've ever seen from some of the musicians that we've thought tio really went well beyond that and got very creative, like I was thinking the first one here, frank and dread you want to tell that? No? Okay, I'll tell you, it's fine, I could do so guy, he plays the steel drums, and he played a lot of festivals in particular he was playing some festivals that wasn't selling any merchandise or any any water or anything like that, and he realized that people were really thirsty. Well, here's what he found, he found a place that will let you have water and actually put his brandon sticker on it. So I was like his water, and so he was selling water at the festival and was branded water was like his water. And you know what? We looked online and that's out there, you can do this yourself very easily. I don't think you should do it. It...

's a a regular venue where they're selling stuff is they're not going to be too happy about you competing with whatever they're selling, but you could do this. Brandon beer and alcohol is possible but I think it's only possible in some states it's a little more prevalent and easy to do for you lucky people outside the united states because you're like got problems with alcohol and we have a weird laws around it you know they're like yeah let's drink you know who sure stick your brand on it you can actually make your own alcohol uh you know it's it's obviously made by somebody else will just stick it on the label here's another idea you can actually make what they do with print on demand basically with albums remember we said you could make cds you upload the art you upload the music and then they'll printed on demand and do that whole thing well, considering that that's the case you can actually do the same thing with books you applaud the writing, you upload the cover and now you've got a book on demand so now you're selling physical books well, why would you do a book? Well, you might actually have some ideas some of the musicians that we've interviewed some of the musicians we've interviewed actually they don't write a book per se but they dio they take a lot of photos and they take photos of their fans that shows and then what they do is they make a commemorative photo book after the show after the event because these air on demand type services that they have all these photos they quickly put him into the use the online services to get their photos into a book form and then they make that book available to uh people who showed up with the show and to all the fans as sort of ah like if you had like a cd release party or an album release a member of the bookers yes exactly and that's yet another it's again thinking creatively about um you know where might be the merchandise opportunity uh in my life show and it could be the live show itself and they do like they do take a lot of time tio make sure that they get fans it's about taking pictures of the people who are actually there because people tend to buy things that they're in and that they could see themselves and if you do that then using stuff you got to make sure that you can take their pictures and stuff so there's a little bit of legal stuff on that but it's again another creative uh merchandise idea and actually he go beyond that to one off items and shows this is an interesting story then came out of something we heard from tom jackson who we're going to be talking about next session and it's one of the prizes that we're giving away he's a live music producer he calls himself and he helps people make shows exciting make shows absolutely to the point where people have to bring their friends and come every over and over again it's about creating moments on stage will be talking about it next session but he worked with one van to make this really great percussive segment that everybody kind of joined in with and did and they got the idea well, wait, we got this percussive segment why don't we also sell drumsticks we can get them in mass and we can actually sell signed drumsticks at the merch table and they did and so like when everyone's participating in something it's the perfect type of memento to walk out with so all we can do a spark ideas but these types of things really make it work very well so I want to talk about this we're about to head into some of the more practical things about like taking payments and fulfillment and stuff like that any questions about just creating merchandise which is a lot about creativity yeah about like kind of outlet you switch you guys were saying about outsourcing kind ideas. Yes. Um is there any, uh like limits once you put on that like, I mean like, uh if someone's going to send you like something that doesn't conform toe a certain uh um standard of, uh like something you're trying to go for? I mean actually what I'm trying to say is sort of like um maybe maybe they want to send you something in vivid color but you say like maybe could send me someone black and white you're talking about like when you like if you collaborate with your fans and stuff yeah but you're talking about okay and then if you collaborate with your fans it's true that they might create things that don't fit it's always possible uh and uh your question then is about like ok, well do I have to take something like that? No uh but can you work with them to tweak it? Yeah yes absolutely true you can sure it's just all about and that actually builds poor relationship with with your fans because you're saying they're working with somebody you know, this is fantastic but my colors are such and such and we kind of muted it's like tio two bright there's something like that are look, I'm really looking for something that's black and white because I have this other thing I'm working this would be perfect for that yeah absolutely could do that and the artists that we've interviewed that work with fans like like that they didn't just wholesale take every idea and then turn it into the goat of the stories and say here you go here's everything there's sort of a quality component you are a filter and you have to guard your brand so you do want to make sure that matches your brandy have every right to do that um but you'd be surprised I think the artist that we've interviewed have been surprised that like the creativity that can come out of your fan base and how they want to end the but the passion that like when you connected with through your music and what you're all about like they bring a certain level of passion and create things that, like, it could blow your mind in some ways like perfect let's work on how to make this into something and I'll split it with you there's something like that, that type of thing. So yeah, that's a very good question, of course you have tips or advice on keeping your brand maybe sort of separate from your marketing and sales tactics so that you don't really look like the guy selling cds out of the back you're drunk. Mmm that's interest. So your concerns that guy looked like yeah, I guess because you do want to have merchandise, of course and you need to have the physical product and you need to be directing people towards your store, but at the same time, you need to have a brand identity and you need to be a presence and you you have to sort of show yourself an artist, but you also have to be saying by myself by myself, by my stuff so do you have any tips ally sea separating the two, especially if you're starting out in your only one person, I see what you're saying yes, let's unpack what you're saying because I think there's a lot inside it yeah, this test and something said in the chat room moment ago about putting the q r codes on things and here keith says, I just can't put cue our codes on products that seems like selling out so I know people are trying to find this balance between marking themselves too much but still keeping that consistent brand right, which is a perfectly valid concern. Tohave yeah, perfectly valid if you don't want to just beat the sell out right, but then again, a q r code can actually bring a dead poster alive it's not like you have to send him to a store, you can send him to some music so the poster it actually starts marrying an image to some music. In fact, that leads me to an interesting idea. What if you had a siri's of one ofthe posters with a different song associated with it? Turn into a scavenger hunt type of thing and kind of weave the art in with the rest? I mean there's a lot you can do with this it could be very interested in you could sell the posters later um in any case, I think you're concerned partially about image partially about seeming like ok, now you've sold out of course most artists have a little store link on their websites I don't think you're worried about that right? Just to be clear that's why I want to unpack so partially you're talking about the in person appearance or like it shows or probably more in person than anything else ok, it was like having a story if you have a problem with this store link I don't think it will cause anybody any problems that you're selling stuff no one is surprised by that um right I mean generally just comes along for the ride so once you're doing things in person, you're starting to talk about shows now and selling it shows and that kind of stuff and we talk about that in the next session otherwise, like if you're certainly if you're in person was somebody and then you're just taking payments for like and that was like that. That was my question is like, are you worried about, like when you're selling that directly person, the person and the vibe of it all is that like so they don't feel like you just pulled up with your car and there's my stuff and please point that type of thing, I guess it's just because you're if you're just one person and you're on stage yes, ok that we need the will and you're also the salesmen yes how do you how do you balance that catches a thousand and we will talk about that in the live show thing but there are ways always and then and you need help for actually you need some support and that's where it goes back to the networking thing that you definitely do not want to be the same person selling right the stuff. So actually that does remind me of a key point from networking that I don't know that we had time to cover it in this one you talk about the book, the agent strategy, okay? And actually I think we do talk we might cover it near the end with something, but one of the key things is when it comes to a number of different things in this industry, it helps to have somebody else representing you right away. Now you might say I'm all on my own and I'm just gonna go back to what we said yesterday do it do it yourself doesn't mean do it all yourself. To the extent that you could have negotiations being done by somebody else, you're going to be better off to the extent that you can have other people running your stores and dealing with the money and all that kind of stuff, you're going to be better off in fact, it tends to raise your stature very quickly when you're not the one answering the phones like somebody else, like we'll talk to my publicist or talked to my agent, and you know what? You can get friends to act as your publicist or your agent, and you should if you can it immediately gives you credibility, and it doesn't take much to handle that kind of, and it makes it very easy for that person. Who isn't you to actually say, come on by this, this is a fantastic album were by this t shirt, you love it, you know, it gives them a lot more freedom to say certain things, too. Hockett, I guess a cz you were while you're up on the stage, and while you're up there actually creating the moments and the music and all that kind of stuff and then periodically reminding people that you have merchandise on sale in the back there's a technique that we used that actually isn't in the slides, I don't know why we didn't in it, but we did sort of a musician's exchange with another band that we ran into. Yeah, ok, and not only did we help promote each other, but we worked their store when they played shows on nights where we weren't playing, and we did the reverse the other way. We ran we rent we happily ran their stores and suddenly we were helping each other out and it wasn't that hard I mean, it was an evening and I mean, I was happy to see them play anyway way always it seems like every time we go to any live show we always end up learning something is like we should do this or uh we shouldn't do that that happens a fair amount to that kind of exchange could be huge and for the most part, any time you deal with if you can try and insert yourself between anybody you'd be doing business with because is there something about this music business or anything that it's a fame based business actors anything down the line where they kind of expect that separation for somebody has grown to a certain size? You can create the illusion so easily and so quickly one of the things I'll mention too, which is not in our slide but this may help you is if you guys do, you could use something like google voice I believe we'll let you do it, you could actually create like a menu and for each button they would press on the menu it would dial a different number, so what you do is you give out your phone number on your card or whatever it is that you're going to hand out to people and then that thing could say if you want publicity hit one of this hit too this hit three they could all go to you they could go to you but you could also send them to other phone numbers like hey, would you act like you're my publicist I have to do is help arrange interviews and then just get back to me and I'll work it out ah and then same thing with booking and all these other things that suddenly you look like a business rather than just a person s so you can cost you nothing by the way that zero dollars again I just want to state that you're saying they can create the illusion of the things everybody really hates this's good and wonderful you could do that ok, great question I mean, we will get even more into depth in the next one ok? So let's let's talk about some practical to keep those questions coming this is a great we're happy to take him taking payments in person you know you're in person all the time trying to sell stuff it's a big problem that you actually have to solve well, mobile phones can okay take credit cards you probably know this already, but if you haven't run in the magic of this thing it's truly amazing you go to any of these sites and mohr and they'll give you a little device that hooks up to your cell phone you'll be able to do a credit card swipe start taking payments in person they're free again it's cost nothing they take a nice big chunk out of the purchase unfortunately a percentage plus a flat fee but it's free and you could start participating in that and then once I mean for all these things the free options tend to take more of a percentage that's how they work they take a percentage out but once you get more and more successful when you graduate to the options where you're paying this subscription version where you're paying a lot more but then you keep more of the percentage when you're done and guess what your sales at that point will justify it and that's if there's a theme that goes throughout this whole making money with music thing it's only spend money when it makes sense when the world's telling you to do it and at that point you'll be able to evaluate the options based on the money and that's the easiest type of decision to make most of the time it's like should I spend money on that? Well I mean let's something I liketo talk about when we're teaching is well cave you're going to spend a dollar for your business the question that you ask yourself is is this going to make me at least a dollar one because if it isn't then why are you spending it? No, you're going to buy something does that make you feel better? You know, ok, maybe you like buying a you know, expensive lotte instead of the cheap a lot but I mean this is like, you know, comfort things is not what I'm talking about I'm talking about you're thinking of yourself as a business you're thinking about your music is a business and so you should evaluate this stuff as you go when it comes to this kind of thing, these air all within reach their great place to start they're not necessarily a great place to stick with you should evaluated as you go they pay very fast that's the thing that surprised the heck out of me once I started to use these things when I started to take payments in person and that was awesome that was so great is like the next day suddenly you have the payment immediately keep in mind that once you do this you are taking on the responsibility of making sure that it's a valid credit card because if they cancel it well, you lose out you may have to you know, it could be a real big problem with it because so they'll come back and do this so you're the one actually saying is this really legit? You know, make sure it's their signature make sure it's that you might even check their I d to make sure that it matches the credit card because you're going to be taking payments from anybody. But once you do that, you're ok. If you have any kind of smartphone or smart device, this is very easy to dio. Most people seem to have that nowadays.

Class Description

In today’s tech-driven world, it’s easier than ever to record, distribute, and market your own music, but what about actually making money? During this course, longtime industry professionals and best-selling authors Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan take you step-by-step through their proven techniques for establishing steady revenue streams in the music business.

Drawing on their combined experience of over 32 years in the industry, Jason and Randy will teach you how to rise above the rest, landing your music on all the popular radio stations, selling your albums in stores, making the most of digital distribution, and licensing your music for commercials and movie and TV soundtracks. You will learn how to maximize the money you make from your music and minimize the money you spend promoting it.

Jason and Randy also outline how to set up the right support team through networking, giving back to your fans, and identifying the right collaboration opportunities. By the end you’ll have an extensive playbook for making money from your music and scaling your business.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Links and Resources.pdf

Day 1 Keynote.pdf

Day 2 Keynote.pdf

Day 3 Keynote.pdf

bonus material with enrollment

Chapter 1 of The Indie Band Survival Guide 2nd Edition.pdf

First Ones Free.pdf

Master Class-Be Heard.pdf

Master Class-Starting A Music Business for $0.pdf

Mixing Your Music For Licensing.pdf

Monetizing YouTube.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Charles Galvin

As robust a blueprint as you're likely to get anywhere. Applicable to every genre and with the growing importance of authenticity to fans, this is the way you start, maintain and grow your music business free of corporate intervention. Great job guys!


Absolutely fantastic course from start to finish. I thought i knew most of the tools, methods and ideas of the modern musician - but i was wrong. This course filled me with food-for-thought and instantly inspired me to do more and try harder. Well worth it. Thanks guys!

Tony Gonzo

One of the best classes I have ever taken as far as how to make money in music. I highly recommend this for anyone who works in the music field as an artist - manager or independent label.