Music sales, shows/touring, and merch. It’s the “holy trinity” of how artists, DJs and other talent make money today. With shows and touring all but ground to a halt, more and more artists and other talent are looking at selling merchandise as a way to earn more income during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are three reasons artists and DJs should launch their online merch store right now.

1. It’s a proven way to supplement your income

In their 2019 Music Merch Industry Trends report, atVenu noted that when it comes to live shows, 90% of fan purchases came from merchandise with music online making up 10%. The top selling item? Black t-shirts.

Now that live shows are all but gone for the moment, online merch sales have become an increasingly important tool in an artist’s income generation toolkit. We’ve gone from merch being an afterthought to now being in a merch boom according to some sources.

In Australia, it’s estimated that about a quarter of an artist’s income comes from merch sales. This is especially important in the streaming era where artists make a lot less per unit than on traditional album sales.

In 2018, Chance The Rapper told Joe Budden, host of the Joe Budden Podcast, that he made $6 million selling his signature “3” hats. While those kinds of sales are out of reach for the average artist, it takes give some insight into how the world’s most famous independent artist is making his money.

2. Online marketing has never been easier

Another reason why right now is the best time to launch your merch store is because of the unprecedented integration between social media and online shopping. Coupled with Instagram’s new update which prioritizes shopping, Tiktok’s recently announced partnership with Shopify, and proven digital marketing strategy of creating an email list, it’s never been easier to get your merch in front of thousands of potential buyers.

3. It reinforces your personal brand

Branding is everything, whether for companies or individuals, and there’s no better way to gain visibility than selling merch. Clothing with unique designs and messaging can communicate and reinforce the “ethos” behind your personal brand, and support your music sales. It’s basically a walking billboard and can get you a lot of residual visibility on social media.

How to launch your merch store today

If you’re an Ottawa-based artist, Invest Ottawa recently launched Digital Main St., a program designed to make it easy for artists and entrepreneurs to start selling merchandise online. ShopHERE, one of the programs within Digital Main St., includes a FREE e-commerce website design and other online support from Invest Ottawa.

If you’re an Ottawa-based artist who would like to look into get a free merch store design from Invest Ottawa:

  • Click here to visit the Invest Ottawa website
  • Click on “Launch An Online Store”
  • Click on “Apply to ShopHERE”

Digital Main Street is also available in the Greater Toronto Area.

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