We recently wrote about how bands are (successfully) experimenting with different models
to sell more merchandise at shows, and Ian Rogers of Topspin (who I also -- finally -- got to meet at the Leadership Music Digital Summit) writes about two bands he recently saw who clearly understand the value of selling (and, as he notes, neither band is using Topspin, so he's not promoting his own partners here) by actually realizing that selling merchandise is part of their job
. He describes how one band, Halestorm, was opening for another band, but rather than being just a typical opening band that fades into the background, they made sure that people knew about them, first by putting on a great show
and then by making it clear that (a) they have affordable merchandise for sale and (b) the band itself will be hanging out with the crowd and wants to meet everyone. From Ian's post:
- Lzzy starts solo with a guitar around her neck and a mic, just singing acapella. Long notes, killer voice. She has people cheering for her before the rest of the band even walks out on stage. Before her voice gets hidden behind the rock, she lets 'em know she can sing and you can see people are impressed straight away.
- The rest of the band appears and they tear through a few songs. It's straight-ahead rock, on the heavy side but ready for pop radio. Everyone in the band is high-energy and engaging, even Lzzy's brother Arejay on drums is standing up for parts of the songs and just generally being a showman.
- Mid-way through the set Lzzy announces they have a new record coming out in a few weeks but you can buy a pre-release of it now for $5 at the merch stand.
- There's a drum solo-y part that doesn't go on long and ends with the entire band at the front of the stage playing drums and the crowd cheering as they go crazy with it.
- During the last song Lzzy reminds them that they have their own merch stand upstairs and CDs for only $5. She also says the whole band is going to be up there after their set and that she wants to meet everyone.
- I head over to the merch stand after the show and watch their tour manager relieve the woman who runs the merch table so she can disappear into the crowd below with a box of CDs with "Halestorm CDs $5" written on it.
- The merch stand is mobbed. It's surrounded by people and they are selling merch literally as fast as their tour manager can manage.
- The band appears (after breaking down their own stage setup) and meets and talks to as many people as possible, while helping to sell their merch.
Free stickers list their MySpace page, etc.
As Ian notes: "I'm not worried about these guys at all. Even if the record doesn't work at radio (it may) they're going to do just fine building their audience one show at a time." The band is doing everything right. They're using every opportunity to connect with fans, while also
giving them a real reason to buy. They're not waiting for their record label to get them on the radio or MTV. They're doing everything they can to actually build up a rabid supporting fanbase from the bottom up.