If you’re an artist remember the idiom, “Putting the cart before the horse.” Now why do I say this? Because time, and time again, I see people acting as though they’re real professional musicians, when they haven’t made a dime from the music they make. I see people, who have less than 5k plays on soundcloud, less than 500 followers on facebook, and 30 followers on twitter sell merchandise for their band…
What the fuck is that? What levels of narcissism are you on bro? Who the fuck is going to buy your t-shirt? YOU LITERALLY PLAY IN COFFEE HOUSES WITH 10 PEOPLE IN IT!!!! What are you going to start calling them your fans, and humblebrag about how grateful you are to them?
Since you wanna make-believe that you’re a business man, let’s look over your make-believe business plan.
- Release one EP
- Sell Merchandise
Now there are two ways to look at this post. One you can get angry, “Oh what does this guy know? I have tons of fans, when I make it to the top my T-shirts are going to be valuable collector items.” Or two you can be self conscious, “Oh, I hope I’m not like that.” If you’re in the second category then you don’t need to worry.
This isn’t a post about purity-spiraling in worrying that you are going to be a sellout if you release merchandise. Rather this is a post about focusing on what you are. Are you a musician? Or are you a T-shirt salesman? Because the fact of the matter is, unless you are the greatest frontman the world has ever seen, nobody is going to remember you at a coffee house, or playing a set at a bar. Think about it. Did you ever once think to yourself, “Oh man that guy playing the guitar at the coffee house was really good, I wanna buy a T-shirt with his name on it.”
I get it, making money off of music is hard. Merchandise is another way to pay the bills. But that should be supplemental income, not your bread and butter. In other words, at least have some street cred. If you are trying to shill merchandise after a show, rather than your actual music, then why are you making music?