We are here today to talk about selling band merch for your band. Believe it or not, before T-Shirt Printing Tulsa, back in the late 90s Sarah and I made a living for a while playing music. Before kids and mortgage and other grown-up things, we travelled the midwest playing in coffee shops, clubs, churches, etc. with just Sarah’s voice and my guitar. Those were heady days and so much fun.
It seems like a person could actually make a living from music in those days, albeit a modest one. We had written a few songs and had some CDs manufactured for about $3.00 per piece. A box of new CDs was a beauty to behold, all shiny and new. Each one printed and shrink wrapped with our clever little phrases written in the liner notes. We felt so “big-time.” Nothing like the T-Shirt Printing Tulsa we feel now.
We sold these CDs for about $15.00 a peice, so that left a healthy margin after each gig. We generally would play a venue for free just to get the opportunity to sell our music at a table after the show.
My, how times have changed. The internet has vastly changed the rules of the game. I suppose that Napster was the first shot across the bow for independent musicians around 1999. This wasn’t a big deal for us at the time because we weren’t signed to a label. It was the big boys taking in the chin with Napster. For those too young to remember, Napster was a new way to download music for free to your computer fromother Napster users. You basically had access to their music library and they to yours. I’ll admit that I found plenty of music using this software, and yes, I felt a little dirty about it.
Eventually the music industry heavy hitters found a way to put a clamp on this loss of income. After getting Napster shut down through the courts, they started suing individual users of this type of software. Plenty of parents received terrible letters in the mail from attorneys claiming that someone in their house, the kids usually, were stealing music. This scared the pants off of plenty of people who were using these software packages, including me.