How Can You Copy Record Store Day?

Liner Notes April 22, 2014

Record Store Day is becoming more and more popular each year. How can you use the same concepts as Record Store Day to promote your music?

Did you get out on Record Store Day to your independent record store? Chime in below…

How to Double Your Income From Music

Liner Notes April 8, 2014

There are many ways to make more money in music, but this week I focus on one of the simplest.

It’s often overlooked as artists rush to chase more fans and fame. But it really is one of the easiest ways to instantly increase your income.

Register for the PLUG networking event on April 15th.

What products/services do you offer to your fans to increase your average fan value? Chime in below…

What Starbucks Can Teach You About Selling Merch

Selling high end merchandiseDid you know you can walk into Starbucks and buy a $3 cup of coffee or a $2700 espresso machine? Who in their right mind would buy a $2700 piece of equipment from Starbucks? I sure wouldn’t.

But here’s the point…someone will.

That’s why it’s there. Taking up valuable shelf space at your local Starbucks. Because once a month or so, someone will walk out with a very expensive cup of coffee and an espresso machine. And more often someone will purchase the $275 espresso machine they also stock.

Starbucks knows how to sell and market

Starbucks understands there are always customers willing to spend more. Thousands of people each month buy the coffee, hundreds buy the Christmas CD, hundreds by the coffee mugs, but there are some people that so trust Starbucks they will buy those espresso machines. So there they sit on Starbucks’ valuable shelf space.

I learned about Starbucks and their espresso machines recently while listening to an interview with marketer Perry Marshall. I actually took this Starbucks example from his new book 80/20 Sales and Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Working Less and Making More. I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but it’s on my short list of new books to read. (Fair warning, the link is an affiliate link so we’ll get a small commission if you buy one. But we’d love you for it!)

Give your fans more

But the interview got me thinking, what products do independent musicians have to sell that are more than a $20 CD or $25 t-shirt? Someone in your fan base is willing and able to spend more. They want to spend more on you!

If you only have two $15 CDs, the most even your biggest fanatical fan can spend on you is $30! You’ll need to find a bunch of fanatical fans at $30 each to make a living.

I bet you can name at least a dozen fans who own every piece of merchandise you’ve ever offered for sale. Pause a moment…. Got ’em? What else would they buy from you if you offered them the opportunity?

Recently I wrote about Keith Urban getting into the guitar business. This is exactly why he did it. To give his fans an opportunity to buy more. Currently the most expensive item in his online store is a framed print for $200. The guitars give Keith the ability to offer a higher priced item. And if you remember, he sold over $2 million worth the first day! Obviously, his fans wanted to spend some money.

High end merchandise ideas

So what can you offer? Here are some ideas you could incorporate into your merchandise program:

  • Wall art – seems to be a very popular option and it’s a very high-profit item
  • Vinyl record – making a major comeback
  • Leather jacket or other valuable wearables
  • A hobby related item you’re passionate about –  fishing poles or a cookbook
  • Your time – fans want to spend time with you. How can you creatively offer up a piece of you?
  • Instruments – maybe you’re not Keith Urban, but can you personalize a guitar?
  • DVDs – a collection of all your YouTube videos in one place or a live concert
  • Arcade Game – Andrew Apanov over at Dotted Music recently shared a Zombie video game based on a band
  • MP3 player – Mr Billy told me about an MP3 player he sold with all his music pre-loaded on it
  • House Concert – a great way to find new fans and get paid for gigs

Ask your fans

Once you have some ideas don’t run out and buy $5,000 worth of items to sell. Start by asking your fans what they like.

Jennine and I are currently working on a survey for one of our clients. We sent out a one question survey (use Survey Monkey – it’s free!) to his top 300 fans asking them what items they were excited about. The results are just starting to come in, but they’re interesting. Of course t-shirts are popular, but autographed pictures and smartphone covers are also topping the list. And people are showing interest in the highest priced items like a signed ukelele and a walking tour of Nashville.

When you do it, leave your survey open-ended. In our survey we created an “other ideas” option and asked fans to give us their best idea. License plate frames and bobbleheads? I don’t know that we’ll use the ideas, but they certainly make me think.

Bottom line – whatever you have available, someone will always want more! Give your fans options.

What is the most creative piece of merch you’ve ever sold to a fan? Leave a comment…

Artists Grab a Piece of the Cyber Monday Pie

Sell Music For ChristmasOn Black Friday over 45 million people went shopping in the United States. Over 45 MILLION! They spent an average of $407 each. Wow!

As an indie artist did you grab a piece of that pie?

If you didn’t – it’s not too late. Today is Cyber-Monday and millions more people are hitting the web to spend-spend-spend.

I opened my email inbox today to dozens of ads from Amazon, Calumet Photo, Cannon,, Dave Ramsey, Quill and many more. All of these corporations know that I’m in a buying mode today. They know that my credit card is ready, willing and able to purchase. (in Dave Ramsey’s case he wants my debit card 😉 ) So they are lining up to make sure their company is in my thoughts as I start my Christmas shopping.

Why shouldn’t your music be in that list? People are always looking for great gift ideas that are tangible and wrappable. Yes, wrappable is a word now!

Seriously, CDs make awesome Christmas gifts. Remind your fans that a wrapped CD of your music is a great gift idea. It’s affordable, easy to mail and unique.

Start today by sending out an email letting your fans know you have a great Christmas special running. You could go with the old 20% off idea. But here are some better ideas for a special:

  • You will sign their CDs
  • Buy a CD and get a Tweet
  • You will custom sign their CDs for the recipient
  • Every order gets a used guitar string ornament
  • Buy X number of CDs and get 1 free
  • Every order comes with home made Christmas cookies
  • Include copies of song lyrics they can use as wrapping paper

Be creative!

Once you have a special, make sure you give it a deadline. They’ll need their order in time for Christmas so try December 9th as your deadline. This will give you a reason to follow up with them multiple times and remind them your special is ending soon and they must act fast.

Speaking of, send out your offer at least three times. Like I said earlier, their is a ton of email hitting everyone’s inbox this time of year. By sending your offer multiple times you’ll ensure it gets seen. Also, I bet you get a better response from the third email than from the first two. People tend to procrastinate. That’s another good reason to remind them multiple times.

Make sure your share your special on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. If you’re really adventurous you could even run a Facebook ad that targets friends of people who like your fan page. Whoa! Now that’s some high-tech cyber stalking. But it is possible and fairly easy.

After you run your holiday special drop me a note and let me know how it did.