Metallica now has its own band-branded beer. Is it time to up YOUR merch game?

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metallica beerBudweiser is now offering a limited-edition beer that’s not only branded with Metallica’s logo, but also “imbued with the band’s essence.” Nasty!

91,000 cans of this stuff will be made available exclusively in Quebec City. Is that a big Metal town? I have no idea. But I’m pretty sure this is a product most Metallica fans neither asked for nor wanted — yet here it is; bottoms up.

What does any of this have to do with independent music, you might ask? Well, not much. Metallica is one of the biggest acts in the world, and Budweiser… they’re doing just fine too. This band/beer partnership, though, made me feel a little bit of merch shame. I might not ever have my own beer, but surely I can cover the absolute basics like setting up a merch booth at shows and offering t-shirts, right?

Sadly, I have a merch confession: I didn’t even set up merch at my last show. (Gasp!) It was a small club, I was excited to hang out with the other act on the bill (my friends Sofia and Jonas who were touring the States from Germany), one of my best friends from childhood ended up coming to the show, then the rush to get my gear set up, and suddenly it’s time to go on.

Meanwhile, glowing in the corner of the room, as if calling to everyone in attendance, is Sofia’s totally pro merch setup. It’s portable, eye-catching, neatly arranged, and even features an iPad that scrolls beautiful pictures of all her discs, shirts, etc.

Ah, that sweet motivating mix of envy and shame. So… time to get my act together (again). And time to revisit some of the merch advice that’s appeared on this blog, from the tried-and-true essentials to the experimental and quirky:

1. Three merch rules most musicians break

2. A musician’s guide to merch: how to sell more CDs and t-shirts at your next show

3. Thirteen merch table basics for bands: if you’re not doing #5, you’re missing out on sales

4. Don’t go broke buying merch: a band t-shirt strategy you need to know

5. Four ways to accept credit cards at your next show

6. How flexible pricing can help you sell more merch

7. Sell your merch on Spotify using BandPage

8. You can’t download a t-shirt: why merch matters

9. Tips for touring abroad: merch sales, customs, and more

10. How to transcribe, print, and sell sheet music as a merch item for your band

11. Seven ways to magnetize your band’s merch display

12. Selling underwear at your merch booth: savvy or trashy?

13. What every merch booth needs: CDs!

14. Band merchandise: how to make it work for you

15. Five tips for selling more at your merch booth

16. Merch Master Spotlight: Tracy Grammer

Are there merch rules you keep breaking? Why? Have you offered something really unique to your fans that became a big hit? Let us know in the comments.


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