Music Business and Management
Course 18: Merchandising

All of those technological advances that more and more people use to create and produce their music has also affected how those artists can market their music and even make money from it. The ability to reach thousands of fans (or more) through social media means artists don’t need to sign with labels or PR firms: they can do it themselves!

Merchandising (or the more colloquial merch) allows artists to market themselves beyond the music they make. Whether it’s stickers, t-shirts, or other kinds of memorabilia, this is money that goes directly to the band and gives smaller bands the opportunity to grow that brand on their own. It’s a much longer road to be sure, but one that can begin a grassroots movement to the top.

You’ll learn about tour merchandising, supply deals, e-commerce, retail stores, and other avenues available to your artist for earning money on their own. You’ll also see how to look at the sales data, when to increase/decrease production, and where your energies are best spent. Licensing also plays a part in how the artist can grow their brand.

Labels have their own merchandising departments as well, so you have the option of working independently with a roster of clients or joining a department for a major or independent label. Your assignment for this course is to create a merchandising plan for a fictional artist or band. Keep in mind production costs, distribution, what products sell, and pricing.