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What Touring Merchandise Generates The Most Profit?

Photo by Jo Hale/Getty Images

Periodically, I throw some advice out to the local bands here.  Today, it’s about your merchandise!According to a study that compared the typical band swag “cost to produce” vs. it’s “expected retail price”; load up on stickers, patches and T-shirts!   

By all means bring your CDs but don’t expect to make much in the long run.

(Most bands … even a lot of big time national acts … barely make enough off CDs to pay the recording, producing and distribution costs.  According to friends in local El Paso/Las Cruces bands; selling CDs is usually a “break even” venture at best.)

Surely a neccesity but NOT a real money maker.

The real money is in the little stuff.  Your fans will love to have your nombre on them somewhere and you will definately do better making money with your kick ass logo than with anything else.  (Unless the venues you play are giving you LOADS of cash per show!)

Stickers and patches are way out front. (Stickers especially!  They only cost a few cents to make and can sell for around $5!)

T-shirts and hoodies can turn a pretty penny as well if you keep ’em simple. (Multi-colored designs will not be as profitable as simpler 1 to 2 color designs.) 

Don’t forget, it’s advertising!  Gets your name out there, provides a tax write off (if neccesary) and sometimes the design alone can generate a sale! (Even if the person isn’t familiar with your band!) 

They will be after you get to speak with them and tell them about your next gig though. Right??   Look at that … someone just paid you to become your fan!

A couple of more things.

Know your audience!  Hoodies may bring in some flow, but we live in the desert!  The demand may not be high enough to justify ordering a ton of them.  And the fewer of an item you order, the more you pay for it!

Know your outlet!  Don’t forget the cost of doing business.  If you have your stuff in local stores like All That Music on the east side, you may have to give them a percentage!  (Maybe you won’t, just be sure you ASK!!)

For the complete top 20 most profitable items list, click here!

I’ll have more tips for you guys here periodically.  Good luck!!

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