In the music industry, there have been many different ways artists and performers have been able to get their content out to the world that has evolved over the last decade. For a group or artist to transition from a hobby to a business, it is vital to establish a brand or identity that’s marketable. Sometimes good music is never heard because there wasn’t a good strategy for promotion. Many musicians, bands, or even DJs have the challenge of not knowing how they’ll promote themselves to obtain a larger audience. And one of the biggest challenges is knowing how, and where, to sell band merch online.
Making yourself stand out
The most prominent platform to promote is with an online presence. The most challenging part of creating an online presence is that it’s completely different from the traditional way of getting exposure. The best way to establish this presence is to develop a brand. If you already have a brand or identity for your group or yourself as an artist or DJ, then you’ve already accomplished half the task. The next step should be merchandising or creating merch. This profitable way of building exposer is critical to your online presence and promotion. Traditionally merch is sold at the event of the artist or group. If this is your only approach, it leaves out other potential groups for exposure if they didn’t attend that event. Having this approach is still very effective since the people just saw your performance and have a chance to interact with the product. When it comes to how to sell band merch online, adjustments are needed. Setting up your design link online is different from physical display for a few reasons. You’ll want to keep it more general or to a performance that you’re streaming online so that the audience will have a chance to see you perform. Keeping the design simple like, the album logo or band name, should be enough.
How to get it made
Another element to selling band merch online is how to make band merch. When creating band merch, you want to consider what would work better for the customers or fans. The development of your merch doesn’t just involve the physical appearance that may separate you from other groups or catch the consumers’ eye. You also have to consider the logistics behind getting the most in return for your production. The best way to look at this is to think about what you may reference in your music. Your music may refer to something other than just a T-shirt. Focusing on the piece of clothing or item that your music may refer to can help you get more from the investment you put into production. Keeping this diverse as possible will help you identify what’s most effective for your brand. An important thing to consider is choosing who will produce this product. You may have to find different sources outside of printing the traditional T-shirt to provide the merch that may give you the best results. It can become less profitable and time-consuming if these sources have different supply capabilities. Ultimately providing these products at one event or online page with multiple sources can be a logistical nightmare. Having a sort of one-stop-shop for your merch is ideal.
As you can see, the catalyst to your success is how to sell band merch. Selling your merch at an event does require you to have a game plan. It won’t be as simple as having someone holding your T-shirt walking through a group of people asking them to buy it. You have to consider the size of the event and the location. It may be a situation where you could have some people on foot with some of your merch promoting it and directing people to your merch table. If it’s a less sizable event having a single table may be the most effective approach that will require fewer resources to set up. In the beginning, you may have a merch table. Make sure you plan where you place the table and what you have for sale on it. It’s also advantageous to have items promoting your web page where they can buy your merch. When selling your online merch, you can promote special items.
Another thing that can affect your success with merch is where to make band merch. In most cases, it requires money upfront to produce your merch. If you have different locations you’re using for merch, it will put a lot of your funds in limbo. Not only will you not get the return until you sell that item, but this can lead to certain items not being available. it will put a lot of your funds in limbo. Not only will you not get the return until you sell that item, but this can lead to certain items not being available.
Sign up to Dizzyjam now, and start selling merch online in the next 2 minutes.
Here’s the dates for your fans to receive their merch in time for the big day. However, we have to say, this year we are also seeing lots of disruption to our stock levels (we can’t get enough blank items to print on) and delivery services (we can’t get items quickly, and they’re take longer to get to customers). So we really do recommend getting your fans to order early in order to avoid disappointment.
United Kingdom – 14th December (except posters – 2nd December)
United States – 12th December (except caps – 1st December)
Canada – 7th December (except caps – 1st December)
European Union – 14th December (except caps – 1st December)
*Posters = 2nd December
** Caps = 1st December
Tip: Why not make yourself a Christmas sweatshirt like GLC have?
Merch can sometimes be the difference between struggling to make ends meet, and making a good living from music. Our own research suggests that under 5% of musicians make a living from their music alone!) .So why not take a little time to limit the amount of mistakes you make with one of your best revenue streams from your music career. Don’t make these common merch mistakes!
1. Online is not offline
The world has changed just a little bit recently and so most sales are now online. And that’s very different to selling at the merch table. At the table you can chat to fans, they can try on items and there’s a chance they’ll be more likely to buy after having just seen you rock that show. But online is a bit trickier – it’s all about the details. Make sure you have a clear link to the size tables, product examples and a good checkout. Also think about designs. Generally a design linked to a tour will sell on that tour, and not at all to people who couldn’t physically attend. Online designs should be a bit more general (band/album logo) OR linked to an online event such as a streaming show.
2. Not thinking about your fans
What do they actually like? There’s no point making caps if your fans just aren’t the type of audience who will wear caps. Maybe they’d like a mug? Or a bag? Or a sweatshirt? Why not ask – do a social media poll, send a mailout. Sure, with Dizzyjam you can just make all the options available, but sometimes less is more, as long as you get the right thing for your fans. Top tip – around 70% of band merch that sells are t-shirts. While they’re not the most innovative, it’s the one thing that people will always need, and therefore often want.
3. Ignoring the boring stuff
Just thinking about the creative side of merch is one of the most common mistakes that we see. Merch design is creative, and a lot of fun. Worldwide postage rates, missing items and customer support is boring and expensive. But unfortunately essential. So don’t skimp on the prep for this if you’re planning on printing and shipping items yourselves. Make sure you’ve researched postage costs and materials as well as customs rules. Also ensure your fans can contact you if there are any problems and have a plan to deal with missing items. Here at Dizzyjam we take care of all of this for you, including reprints if items are lost in the post. But if you’re handling this all yourself then you need to make sure you build in plenty of profit margin. It’s difficult to predict what extra costs will inevitably crop up.
4. Too many merch designs in one store
If you’re going the print-on-demand route for selling t-shirts to your fans it can be tempting to make dozens of designs available. But this can cause confusion for your fans. Stick to a few good options, switch them up every few months to see what works or test an item out on social media first. By only creating a few designs, it’s easy for you to see which one is most popular with your fans. Then you can then easily double down on that style of design, or screenprint a batch or the bestsellers for sale on tour.
5. Doing merch at the wrong time
This last one might sound weird, but it might not be time for you to do merch yet. If you’re still new and working on your music it might be a good idea to wait until after a couple of releases or a few shows. Get fans engaged and make them ask YOU for merch, That way you’ll find out what kind of thing they want. Make sure to keep a list of people interested in you (get their email addresses!). Then you can launch with a bang!
Hopefully this helps and you can get making great merch. Have we missed anything? Any other common merch mistakes that we should have included?
If you’re ready to create an online store in under 2 mins (just upload your designs!) with worldwide printing and fulfilment on-demand. Sign up here at Dizzyjam.com
Or, for bulk purchases of merch, hit up our partner www.ramptshirts.com
We know how important being able to make a living is to independent musicians. Streaming revenues are famously low, so unless you’re in that elite group of musicians getting millions of plays, you’re going to need to supplement that income to make some money. Here’s six ways you can do that.
The obvious one, but it’s not always that simple, as 2020 showed us… Even in ideal circumstances, gigging isn’t always the money maker you’d hope. For a new band, playing a support slot at a 200 capacity venue, the fee might not even cover your fuel or van hire. If you can, we recommend getting an agent here to help you get on to the best line ups and negotiate a better fee. BUT an agent costs money, so you really need to be able to at a stage to take advantage of this. Even so, we’d still recommend taking any gig you can if you’re starting out. even if the fee is quite low. You only get good by playing.
2. Physical Music
OK, everyone is listening online now, but your biggest fans will still want to own a copy of your music. Vinyl is especially popular, looks great, and you can charge a decent amount. Prices can be upwards of £15/$15 for a single vinyl LP. Once you figure in pressing costs of around £3/$3 per album that seems pretty sweet. Pitfalls? If you decide to ship yourself this can be a full time job, and you’ll need to buy record mailers, deal with missing and damaged orders, so make sure you factor that in. If you have a label and distributor to get into physical stores, they will also take a cut, but will also do a lot of the admin work. Don’t forget that international postage can be a bit of a minefield too. But you can make a decent amount of money here.
Ignore this at your peril. If your fans don’t have a way of playing your physical music, this is what they’ll want. T-shirts are the obvious item, but have a think – what would your fans actually like? Ask them! Does one of your songs reference a piece of clothing or merch? Make that! Like in life, with merch you get out what you put in. So put some attention and thought into it, the same as you would with your music. Once you’ve decided what you want to do, here are some options of how to get it into the hands of your fans. Here at Dizzyjam, we let you upload artwork to merch templates. We call this Print on Demand. When these sell to your fans, we print the item and ship direct to them. Of course it’s not the only way of doing things, so we’ve broken down the options here.
Buy in advance, sell at gigs
Pros: will be cheaper, profit will be high, willing audience
Cons: Sizes can sell out, cash needed upfront, storage space and transport space needed
Buy in advance, sell online via a webstore, posting them out yourselves
Pros: will be cheaper, profit will be high (minus store fees)
Cons: Sizes can sell out, cash needed upfront, storage space needed, items can go missing
Buy in advance, send some to a fulfilment warehouse who will send for you
Pros: will be cheaper, profit will be high (minus warehouse fees)
Cons: Sizes can sell out, cash needed upfront, items can still go missing
Print on Demand
Pros: Sizes never sell out, customer service is handled by someone else, missing items reprinted. No costs at all, just uploading artwork. No cash needed. Web store provided.
Cons: Profit can be lower than the merch table.
In reality, we recommend doing a combination of all these methods, or at least trying them. Some may work for you, some may not. In our experience, some genres of music really work at the merch table (rock), others work online (dance music).
4. Online Content
Livestreaming is only going to get bigger, and it’s getting easier and easier to put together a live show and stream it to your fans. You can hack this together by offering tickets the traditional way by using someone like Eventbrite, then sending a link to a YouTube link. Or a dedicated livestreaming service like Twitch will let you collect tips as you play. It’s not just about the live stuff too. You can offer artwork, new tracks with subscription services too. If you’re a producer you can sell your beats at someone like Airbit.
It’s not for everyone, but for some musicians, this is a really important revenue stream. It doesn’t have to be the traditional one on one music class either. You could gather a group together to create a song with their favourite band, ticketed. You could teach people how to recreate that killer loop you based your song off or sell masterclasses on Youtube. You don’t need a dedicated platform to do this either – Zoom/Skype will do.
Ok, so given what we said earlier, this might seem strange to include. But it is still worth having your music on the streaming services as an independent musician. You won’t get rich off it, but you probably will get fans from it and they’re quite important if you want to be a musician.
So there you go – we recommend trying ALL of these options, but usually you’ll find one or two really start to work for you over the others. When that happens, double down and throw your time into them.
UPDATE – Order as soon as you can! We’re getting reports of very slow delivery times from Royal Mail and couriers. We’re now recommending UK orders to be placed by Saturday 12th December.
Don’t leave it too late to order!
With the global pandemic putting extra pressure on both suppliers and postal services, it’s best to get your orders in nice and early this year.
Any questions? Drop us a line…
We’re excited to announce that you can now create and sell great quality posters direct to your fans! Just login, and create your poster in just a few minutes. Every time one is sold it will be printed on-demand, and sent directly to your customer. They’re printed on lovely 240gsm matte card, and they look fantastic wherever they’re displayed.
Info to help you design your posters for the best results:
Borderless, US tabloid size – 11in x 17in
27.94cm x 43.18cm
3300 x 5100 at 300 dpi.
While we have your attention…
How can we help you sell more music merch?As we continue to make updates and improvements to Dizzyjam, we’re looking at ways in which we can make the service better for you. We have a two question survey that takes less than 60 seconds to complete – and we’ll randomly send some of the respondents $50 / £50 of free merch!
Finally… Don’t forget to sign in and start creating posters now if you’re already a member.
If you’re not, then just click the big, enticing button below, to start creating posters, as well as other merch (t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, bags, caps…) right now!
You can now create and sell sweatshirts directly to your fans. And it takes less than 5 mins to get started.
Just log in to your store, click “Add Merch”, and select the sweatshirt option.
Whether you’re a grunge outfit from Greenwich Village, or a techno DJ from Tokyo, sweatshirts are a huge hit with everyone, and work with pretty much any personal style. So once you’ve created your sweatshirts make sure you inform your fans by sharing the the news on social media, and to your mailing list.
To stimulate your creative juices, you can see the sweatshirts that have already been created by other shopowners right here.
For those of you who love the details, here’s a little bit more about the sweatshirts we use.
If you’re in the USA, or anywhere else outside Europe, we print on the Gildan 18000 sweatshirts. Scroll down or click here for more information!
If you’re in UK or Europe, we print on AWDIS JH030 Sweatshirts. Read on!
AWDIS JH030 sweatshirts (UK & Europe only):
These sweatshirts are a huge hit with everyone. They’re an 80/20 cotton-polyester mix, meaning that they’re warm and soft, as well as nice-fitting!
* Set in sleeves
* Taped neck
* Stylish fit
* Twin needle stitching detailing
* Ribbed collar, cuffs and hem
* Simple tear out label makes it perfect for rebranding
* Soft cotton faced fabric creates ideal printing surface
* Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) certified production
Ready to start selling sweatshirts direct to your fans, on demand?
Gildan sweatshirts 18000 (USA & ROW only):
These great sweatshirts that we print on in the USA are woven from airjet spun yarn, and a touch of Lycra, to make them soft, stylish, and super wearable. They’re ideal for selling direct to your fans.
They’re a 50/50 Cotton-polyester mix, and cut from 226gsm cloth. Check them out!
* Preshrunk fleece knit
* Air jet yarn = softer feel and reduced pilling
* Tear away label
* Double-needle stitching at shoulder, armhole, neck, waistband and cuffs
* 1 x 1 rib with spandex
* Quarter-turned to eliminate center crease
What are you waiting for….?
It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you’ve probably been bombarded by a boatload of GDPR opt-in emails recently. If you don’t know what GDPR is, then in a nutshell, it’s new European Union laws around user data and consent. In essence, it means that you control lots more of your personal data around the web. Here’s what we’ve been doing to meet the standards:
Made a policy for dealing with user data requests – you can ask for us to delete your information, or ask for a copy of it. We’re not Facebook, so there’s no automatic download / delete button built, but we will do this for you in a reasonable timeframe and to the standards required.
Removed some third party services that track your information, that we no longer use (eg Optimizey)
Changed all our email sign in buttons to be opt in rather than opt out.
Only sending you emails when you’ve explicitly consented to receiving them – so that means for example, if you’ve signed up to a newsletter. You’ve probably received dozens of emails asking you to resign up for various newsletters, but we don’t need to do this if you’ve already told us you want to be on our list in the past.
We also send you an email if you’ve done something that means you’d reasonably expect an email directly related to that thing – for example, when you sign up; when your order ships; when you complete your order.
We’ve also taken some steps behind the scenes to tidy up how we deal with your personal information when we use it for our admin and accounts.
This is what we’ve done so far – but this is an ongoing thing, so we’ll continue to improve the site for you and your data.
The Dizzyjam Team.
Independent artists no longer need a major label to release their singles, albums and EPs to the biggest online music stores. Thanks to independent distributors, anyone can start collecting royalties by selling and streaming their tracks.
Although it may be simple enough to get music on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music and other platforms, it can be tricky to build the momentum needed to get your sales and streams up to a level where your royalties payments make a real impact on your bank balance.
That’s why we’ve compiled some fairly easy ways for unsigned bands and artists to increase their sales and streams, and start earning more money from their music.
Getting your music featured on a popular Spotify playlist can give your track a huge boost. But rather than just sitting back and waiting for your songs to get picked up, you should try pitching to playlist curators.
Playlist curators range from media figures and industry bods, to average Spotify users. You can either find them through Spotify, or carry out some research online and email them. In fact, you can submit tracks to Spotify playlists curated by Ditto Music right now.
Once you’ve found the right contact details, make sure to keep your email brief with prominent links to your music. Make sure it’s as simple as possible for them to quickly listen to your music and find out who you are.
Making your music available for pre-release is another great sales-boosting technique. With pre-release, you can start selling your music on iTunes up to four weeks before your official release date, and all sales accumulated in that time will count towards your release day total and potential chart position.
You can add iTunes pre-release to any song released through Ditto Music. It’s an optional service that many artists use to as a promotional tool before their track goes live in stores.
PR & Social Media Campaigns
Creating and increasing hype and awareness around your music is the best way to achieve more sales (obviously!), but many musicians simply release their tracks online and sit back waiting for the sales that will never come. That’s why it’s vital to give your tracks a fighting chance by organising an effective promotional campaign.
Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are accessible to anyone, and are arguably the number one way through which new artists can connect with their fans. An interesting, engaging social media presence offers an easy platform from which to sell and promote your music.
An effective PR campaign is also a fantastic way to reach new fans and potential punters. You can either approach press publications like mags, blogs and fanzines yourself via email, or you can hire a professional PR company to help your reach the masses. It all depends on your budget.
Professional Online Presence
If you look the part online; fans, labels and influencers are much more likely to take you and your music seriously at first glance.
Maintaining a professional online presence doesn’t just mean regularly updating your social media channels (which you should be doing anyway!). It also means developing a dedicated website alongside eye-catching logos and graphics.
You should make sure your website has clear links to your music too, directing your fans to iTunes, Spotify or anywhere else they can stream and purchase your tracks. Make it as easy as possible for fans to find your music.
You can release your music right now with Ditto Music. Just head over to the Ditto site, sign up, and start uploading your tracks.
For most of us, collecting records amounts to a trip to our local independent music shop or digging around at a record fair in the hope of stumbling across something a bit different. Frank Gossner, however, isn’t like most of us.
In 2005, inspired after discovering a rare afrobeat LP in a Philadelphia record store, Frank upped sticks and moved to West Africa where he began to dig — literally — for African Funk records. Along the way he wrote about his experiences on his blog, Voodoo Funk, capturing not just the music he found but the stories of the people and places behind it.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Frank to talk more about his musical background, reissuing records, and why he decided to set up a Dizzyjam store.
Tell us a little about your musical background up to this point.
I started DJing in 1994 in Berlin where I developed the Vampyros Lesbos Party, an event that was based around Jess Franco’s sexploitation movies from the late 60s to early 70s. Back then I played a lot of French Yeh-Yeh records and Hammond heavy library funk. These events also featured a custom made, chrome plated go-go cage and various video and slide projections featuring my vast collection of naughty movies, lobby cards and movie posters.
In 1996 I moved to NYC with my records and go-go cage where the Vampyros Lesbos Party became a weekly nightlife classic, before moving back to Berlin to start the Soul Explosion parties, where I played out all of the Deep Funk 45s I had bought during my stint in NYC and on various digging trips to the South of the USA. In 2005 I moved to West Africa for three years where I constantly moved around, buying loads and loads of Afro Funk records.
Where did your interest in African vinyl come from?
After playing out Deep Funk 45s for five years I needed some fresh material to dig into and Afro Funk and Nigerian Disco seemed like a logical progression.
What is it about this genre of music that you’re drawn to?
It feels good to listen to it and it makes people dance.
And how does it feel to see people enjoying these records, knowing they might never have heard them otherwise?
To be honest, when I play these records at a party I just enjoy myself along with everybody else. I don’t see myself as some sort of messiah who brings unheard tunes to people who don’t know them. It’s just records that contain other people’s music, how should I take any credit for this… I just enjoy sharing this feeling of pleasure with the crowd.
You said the Pax Nicholas LP was one of the first African records you found and that it still feels special. Are there any others that hold particular meaning for you?
The first record by Marijata, titled “This is Marijata“, holds maybe even more of this feeling for me, particularly because of the truly timeless lyrics and of course also because of the musical impact.
You’ve been in some pretty dangerous situations. Did you ever reach a point where you started to question whether the risk was worth it?
I was never that concerned about my own safety but I had strong moments of doubt when, for example, my friend Ken who is from Ghana traveled to Northern Nigeria for me and narrowly escaped a bombing in Kaduna some years back. He had just left the hotel for a bus ride to Kano when only about one or two hours after his departure the hotel, where he had spent the last couple of days, was blown up by Boko Haram.
Are you still collecting — is there anything in particular you’re hoping to find?
I’m still getting in new stuff but I don’t hunt for specific records. Pretty much everything I know about I already have so I’m basically looking for the unknown stuff.
Does your label have any reissues in the pipeline?
I’m going to put out two more 45s, one by Emma Baloka and another one by Joe Brown & his Black Men and that will be it. I might continue playing the occasional club gig on an on-and-off basis but other than that I’m either going to retire or start doing something totally different with my life, I haven’t yet figured out which.
With such a great collection to draw from, how do you choose which ones to reissue?
There are two major factors: the record has to be consistent enough and not just offer one or two great tracks and then, of course, I need to be able to find the artist(s) to make a licensing deal.
What made you choose Dizzyjam to start selling merchandise?
They asked me one day and I thought, why not give it a try? What appealed to me most was the ease at which this could be done and I was surprised at how well it took off and the sheer number of shirts that sold.
How do you come up with the different designs for your merchandise?
The original designs are mostly lifted from various record covers. I did all the artwork myself.
Aside from your blog, have you thought about documenting your collection in some way?
Not really. I’m not a musicologist nor do I see myself as running an archive. In fact I’m in the process of retiring from the DJ game. Next year I’ll be 50… to me this seems to be the right point to call it quits and find a new focus for my life. I’m already in the process of selling my collection. I’m keeping a copy of each of the records that I enjoy playing out the most and might continue DJing for another year or so but eventually everything will have to go.
Finally, can you recommend some albums for us to listen to?
There are single cuts from some of my releases on Soundcloud at
and on Youtube at
Check out the Voodoo Funk Dizzyjam store here.
Photos from voodoofunk.blogspot.co.uk