Custom Band Merch vs. Recording – What comes first?

January 24, 2009 | Merch Expert

If you are in a band, you know how tough it can be to make any kind of money, let alone even dream of becoming a full time musician. Times are tough and people are not wanting to spend money like they once did and thus are using their money in ways that will help get them by. So as a struggling band, how on earth are you to make any kind of profit, or even a little gas money to get you from show to show?

There are many different theories out there as to what you should first do when you are forming your band and are trying to generate some revenue. The first thing that most bands will attempt is to record. This is a completely legitimate first step that many take and find great success. After all, this is what it is all about…the music. A good recording can skyrocket your career and get you label attention. Once you have your recording, what will you do with it?

It is sad to say that the CD is now almost obsolete. Even 5 years ago, a band could put out their EP or full length and make a decent profit on it at show or in their online merch store. Those days are however completely gone. Now if you try to sell your music at a show, you will more than likely be shrugged off or asked what your myspace or purevolume addresses are. Fans are just not willing to pay for their music anymore as we have, I feel, officially entered into the digital age of music. This then puts into question, what comes first – the recording or the merch?

If you put up a good amount of cash to record your first EP, you will have a quality recording, but more than likely will have nothing monetarily to show for it. In years past, you could either record or buy custom band merch, and either one would profit in order to fund the other. This is not the case anymore.

It is almost imperative now that you first buy your custom band merchandise in order to fund your recording sessions. Even more so, the business of band merch has exploded in the last 2 years and we are seeing even more detailed designs, full print shirts, gold foil and much more. The talent pool of designers is in full blossom and many are still under the age of 18.

If your band is looking for amazing designs, you can pretty much find anyone that designs on Myspace, or you can check out the best of the best at Emptees. There you can find the top designers in the industry. While you may have to shell out some bucks to get one of them, the return is well worth it for a design that will sell extremely well. Often times, a design can make or break a bands merch box. Spend that extra money to get a great design.

The industry is in a huge shift. There are more bands out there thus making even more competition. Music is at its new height, yet losing money at avalanche speed. The rise of custom band merch is huge at will only continue to get stronger. By investing in this end of your business (yes, your band is your business) you can then fund your other investments.

By delaying your recording, you can refine your sound and have better song selection when you record, you can build a fan base just by playing shows and selling custom band merchandise, and will save and make more money in the long run by initially investing in custom band merch.

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