Posted on October 28, 2021 | By MusicPromoToday

The Truth About Buying Merch: What Do Fans And Artists Get?

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Nowadays, selling merchandise is extremely important. It’s an essential part of the artist-fan connection: the audience buys merch to show its loyalty to the artist, and the latter, on the other hand, potentially gains additional revenue from it. As simple as this may seem, one question still remains: what do we actually buy when buying merch? And, accordingly, what does it mean for artists to get income from the merch-selling process? First and foremost, you need to know your audience, and clearly identify what type of merch you are willing to sell to your fans. 

With social media networks like Instagram, Twitter, or Amazon Music constantly developing and making it easier to sell merchandise through their platforms, we can provide the following three answers to the question: “what do fans really buy when they buy a piece of merchandise?” 

  • A fan buys a tangible object: a mug, a cap, a t-shirt, or a digital album
  • A fan gets a special status, getting an access to the upper class of loyal superfans
  • A fan invests in and shows love to the artist, as a result gets even closer to them.

Physical and virtual merchandise

Let’s talk about 2019, when atVenu, a platform that provides an opportunity to sell merch while being on tour, provided data indicating that, generally speaking, people who loved attending concerts, still spent more money on buying merchandise throughout the years. This resulted in an increased amount of dollars spent by gamblers as well. The data suggested that the most sold item was a t-shirt, for the most part, a black one. Further collection of data by atVenu also suggested that usually artists have approximately 17 merch items during the show, while, on average, only 4 of those make up 75% of gross sales. These numbers indicate that artists should start offering a wide combination of items for sale during a show; t-shirts, of course, hoodies, long sleeves, mugs, etc. 

Now let’s move to the virtual items. Here, a huge proportion of success should be granted to gaming, where virtual merchandise is already a big deal. And when music gets into the gaming space, we see the outcome. Taking Lil Nas and his well-known Roblox show as an example, we can say that video game concerts and virtual merchandise are potentially a big deal. With the help of a number of virtual spaces that combine virtual merch alternatives, virtual merchandise will become as big as the physical one. 

Fandom Status

The demand for merchandise will continue increasing, as fans will continue looking for ways to show their loyalty to their beloved artist. Besides that, it’s also about getting a certain status. It’s a usual thing when someone is walking around wearing a t-shirt of a band or a singer, getting numerous shoutouts and positive comments solely because of wearing a particular artist’s t-shirt. Through stores like H&M, people are able to easily find a t-shirt with their favorite artist pictured on it. But it’s not solely about the t-shirt. It’s also about the status and the recognition that comes with it. A simple t-shirt may provide a fan with an exceptional opportunity of being a part of a big and broader fandom. Thus, artists should start paying more attention to these merch-status relations, and produce items with high practicality and usefulness.  

Investing in and showing love

Definitely, buying merchandise is the most effective and quick way for a fan to express their love for the artist. Alongside buying and downloading the artist’s music, attending concerts, a fan takes their fandom status to a whole new level by purchasing anything related to their favorite performer. Especially during the recent lockdown restrictions, buying merchandise has become a common way of showing love and loyalty all over the world. It also affected the way artists themselves sell merchandise and what kind of items they sell

Here, blockchain-based tokens take the process to another level. They both provide fans with an opportunity to help their favorite artist out throughout the process of becoming more famous and prominent, as well as give the privilege of coming even closer to the artist. For instance, it can be done through a collective solution, like providing a variety of tiers of access with the help of services such as Patreon. The advantage of a token is the following: it grants correlative development as value may increase not depending on the artist- fan connection 

Get to know your fan base

If you are an artist willing to take your connection with your fans to a next level by selling merchandise, you need to first map your special approach. Fans come from different backgrounds and cultures; not all of them are the same or have similar thoughts and needs. Coming to a realization that you may have different audiences, you will be able to create a proper strategy to grow your fan base. You can get into contact with companies like terrible, to help you out in designing and delivering physical merchandise to your fans. Whether you are focused on physical or virtual merchandising, you have to remind yourself of one thing: merch is more than just selling and purchasing. It’s about creating a community where love, diversity, and loyalty reigns.

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