By Mike Ippersiel
Want to know a great way to make money that bands of today have over the pre-internet acts of yesteryear? Please read my Electronic Merchandise Primer for bands.
So what is electronic merchandise (or E-merch for short)? They're digital downloads like MP3s, E-books, screensavers, desktop wallpaper, JPEGs, movies and even online tickets are some great examples of E-merch; in essence you're selling computer files as opposed to a phyiscal item. The reason E-merch is so profitable is you pay the cost once, but can continue to sell the item forever. You also don't have to pay any shipping or customs fees and the time to send and receive it is almost instantaneous.
For indie-bands this means that when you record your music you now have a choice: press CDs for an added cost or make your newest songs available as a .99 cent download. This is great for the cost concious because manufacturing costs often eat up anywhere from a third to half of the cost of making a new release.
Rather then pay upfront to manufacture a thousand CDs that may or may not sell, now you can release the MP3's and gauge the response before committing to spending money.
Every musician out there already knows about MP3s, but consider thinking outside the box: you can also sell autographed photos, tickets to upcoming shows, or perhaps even more daring - an all-access VIP pass for a year.
Whether your band is popular enough to pull these ideas off is up to you to decide, but they are legitimate. Even if you don't make money from these E-merch ideas, you can hold contests online and use them as prizes among your fanbase.
Having E-merch isn't going to make you a better band, or increase a fanbase by itself. If you've established a following already, it can mean the difference between getting a producer for your next album, or touring across the province without starving (as much).
If you suspect that there could be demand for E-merch from your band, you owe it to yourself to set up a Paypal account and look into methods of delivering electronic goods to your fans and friends.
Thanks for reading my Electronic Merchandise Primer for Bands.