Top 5 Ways to Sell More Music and Merchandise

It’s been only three weeks since the public launch of the Reverb Store, but more than 30,000 Artists have already activated this FREE, powerful and customizable storefront that allows them to sell directly to their fans on ReverbNation, their homepage, blog, Facebook, MySpace and virtually anywhere else online.

The quick adoption suggests that Artists intuitively understand WHY selling direct-to-fan is an important piece of their revenue puzzle.  But we’ve been receiving a lot of questions from Artists about HOW to sell more music and merchandise.

So we’ve pulled in some best practices from our partner, Audiolife, listened to some creative suggestions from our users, and even looked at some of the early data from the Reverb Store to come up with some key concepts and a Top 5 list.

Key Concept:  Items that sell the best are…

  • Relevant (speaks to a particular segment of your fans)
  • Exclusive (gives fans a sense of ‘rarity’ around the product)
  • Limited (gives the fan a reason to buy it now)

Think about these attributes when creating a product. Is it something my fans can relate to? Is it something that will be special to them? Be creative.

Top 5 ways to sell more music and merch (with the Reverb Store):

  1. Create a different t-shirt for each gig you play on a tour, customized with each location on the tour.

    Promote each T-shirt using our FanReach email system (or whichever one you use) to target fans in the area surrounding each show. You can pre-sell the T-shirts before the show or sell the shirts afterwards to these fans, but put something special or memorable from each gig — such as what that drunk guy in the back yelled right before he passed out (or maybe just the date of the show). Either way, everyone who went to the show will have something special to remember the night by and a cool story to tell each time they wear the shirt. People buy t-shirts often as memorabilia to commemorate a special night they had with their friends. Tap into that. Location-based promotions tap into the relevance factor and will help you sell more.

  2. Re-activate your back catalog of CDs and T-shirts.

    There is no reason not to offer your out-of-print CDs and T-shirt designs through the Reverb Store (it costs nothing to set them up). If fans have worn out their favorite out-of-stock T-shirt, they can get another copy, and you don’t have to pay to have more T-shirts made. You can also sell older, sold-out albums through the Reverb Store without paying for 1,000 more CDs, or just sell them as digital downloads. New fans might want a chance to buy the older stuff too!

  3. Test out different art concepts and see which ones sell the best.

    You can create as many album or merch (T-shirts, hats, etc) art concepts as you want at no cost with the Reverb Store. Create multiple versions of your album artwork or T-shirts and let the fans decide which CDs and T-shirts they want! This is a great way to do market research without having ANY out-of-pocket costs, and could keep you from ending up with boxes of T-shirts laying around because fans didn’t like the artwork. Fans also get the chance to feel involved with the band, and makes them more likely to buy the T-shirt that they got to help pick out. Once you know what sells, stock up using our bulk buy option, which lets you buy your own CDs and merch at the lowest prices available and bring them to your shows with confidence that they will sell.

  4. Sell recordings of your live performances.

    If you get a copy of each live performance, this can be a source of additional income for you.  Consider creating concert CDs or digital downloads and selling them to the fans from that locality after the show.  Use our FanReach e-mail service to easily segment out the fans that live near the show you performed and send them an offer to buy the live performance CD from that show.

  5. Create custom t-shirts for members of your Street Team.

    If you have rabid fans, or even an organized Street Team, give them a special T-shirt or hat that they can buy to pledge their allegiance to the band and show off what they stand for. Fans like to feel included in the band, and making exclusive merch for them can often be a great way to give them an outlet to proclaim it. It costs nothing to create a special line of merch with the Reverb Store, so why not?

  6. Bonus idea:  Create CDs, Downloads, and merch to support a cause.

    Many Artists use their music as a way to raise money for a charity or cause. But often, friction is created when it comes to who will pay the up-front costs to make the products whose profits will be donated to the charity. With the Reverb Store, you can make items for a cause at no cost and send all of the profits to the charity. This opens up a whole new world of local charities you can afford to support!

We hope this gives you some great ideas, but we know that you will come up with more.  Let us know if ANY of these worked for you, or if you have any other great ideas from the Reverb Store, by sending an email to, and we’ll post our favorite new ideas in the coming weeks.


Rachael (blog maven for

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Success Story: TAIS

“Success Story” is a new periodic feature where we’ll be chronicling some of the successes that Artists on our site have found. If you have a success story of your own, e-mail us at with “Success Story” in the subject line and tell us how ReverbNation has helped you out!


We first ran across TAIS (an acronym that stands for Truth Arises In Search) when we tweeted a link to an interview he did with Audible Hype a while back. In the interview, it was easy to tell that he works really hard to promote himself, engage fans and put out a steady stream of great music to keep people coming back for more, and we decided to share the link because he seemed like a great example of an artist who knew how to DIY.

We were surprised when we got a tweet from him a few weeks later that he’s going to be performing at the Red Gorilla Music Fest in Austin, TX, this Friday (March 19th), and that he received the opportunity through us!

We decided to hook up with TAIS via e-mail and ask him some questions about his music and how he promotes it, and how he got his spot at Red Gorilla.

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Guest Post: Optimize Your Blog

Dave Huffman is a musician and author of  The Indie Launch Pad blog where he uses the insight he gained as a full-time indie musician to share thoughts and advice for those wanting to enjoy an indie career in music as well. You can also follow him on Twitter: @davemhuffman


There have already been many discussions and tips given on blogging — I’m not planning on covering new ground here. I actually wanted to take a moment to remind you that you could be missing a HUGE opportunity if you only use your blog as a show promotion/project discussion tool.

Don’t get me wrong, I get that your blog is kind of a nice place to give people a behind-the-scenes perspective. That stuff is super cool from time to time.

But why not give your friends and fans access to a different side of you? Do you really want to be the person at the party ALWAYS talking about your band?

Some of the experts say music careers are dying because “Mystique is dead.” I say music careers are dying because no one cares about the lonely rebel dude in the corner anymore…he’s not mysterious to us; we’re jaded to that.

WE WANT ACCESS. We want a deeper connection.

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ReverbNation teams up with Audiolife to launch the Reverb Store

storeNew York, NY (February 24, 2010) – ReverbNation, the leading marketing platform for more than 550,000 artists, labels, managers and venues, has partnered with Audiolife, the leader in direct-to-fan e-commerce, to announce the official launch of the Reverb Store following a private trial period involving more than 15,000 bands.

“Artists are constantly asking me how they can monetize all of their online promotional activities,” said Ariel Hyatt, CEO of CyberPR and music marketing maven. “The Reverb Store is the answer!”

The Reverb Store is the first and only e-commerce solution that empowers musicians to sell t-shirts, hoodies, hats, CDs, downloads and ringtones directly to their fans on Facebook and other social networks, as well as their blog and homepage, without any out-of-pocket expense for setup, store usage, or inventory.

Selling Merchandise on Facebook in Two Minutes or Less from ReverbNationBlog on Vimeo.

“Any artist can connect with fans to sell music and products in less than two minutes using the Reverb Store,” said Michael Doernberg, CEO of ReverbNation. “Reverb Store integrates seamlessly inside Facebook with two applications for artists: the leading all-in-one promotional application for bands called ‘MyBand,’ and the stand-alone store application for musician pages called ‘Store.’”

Every product purchased through the Reverb Store is produced on-demand and delivered directly to the fan, via the Audiolife direct-to-fan e-commerce engine. Artists simply set the final price above the cost and keep 100% of the profits from every sale. In addition, artists can use the Reverb Store to order larger quantities of their CDs and merchandise at highly discounted wholesale prices for sale at shows.

“The Reverb Store was designed with one thing in mind: to create a streamlined tool for the artist that would require no financial investment but would afford the musician, band, or label a way to monetize their products through leveraging current technologies,” said Brandon Hance, founder and CEO of Audiolife.

Many bands have taken advantage of the Reverb Store to create multiple versions of t-shirts, analyze fans’ merchandise preferences and order in bulk for tours. Some bands have also used the direct-to-fan eCommerce model to integrate fundraising into their music.

“We recently used the Reverb Store to quickly sell our charity song, ‘We Are Samoa,’ and related merchandise to benefit the Samoa Tsunami relief effort,” said artist, Samoa ONSTSU. “The Reverb Store is an invaluable tool for the independent artist.”

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Paul Vidich, Former Executive at Warner & AOL, Joins Board of

vidichReverbNation, the leading music marketing platform that connects more than 500,000 artists, labels, managers and venues, to over 20 million music fans worldwide, has announced the appointment of Paul Vidich, former Executive Vice President of Warner Music Group and Special Advisor to AOL, to its Board of Directors.

Mr. Vidich will bring his extensive experience with music and media from CBS, Warner Music Group, and AOL to the leading artist-focused music and marketing platform. As EVP at Warner Music, Mr. Vidich was responsible for global business development and technology strategy, closing the first major record company agreement with Apple iTunes in 2002, which became the template for deals Apple would later conclude with Universal Music, Sony, and EMI. At AOL, Mr. Vidich was the senior executive in charge of video operations, and helped establish the first on-demand, premium-content video portal that laid the ground work for companies like Hulu.

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ReverbNation Launches Playlist 7 to Sponsor Free Music from Top Emerging Artists

Playlist 7

ReverbNation, the leading marketing platform for more than 500,000 artists, labels, managers and venues has announced the launch of a new music discovery program called Playlist 7 sponsored by Microsoft Windows. The program will showcase emerging artists from the rock, pop, alternative, hip-hop, latin, jazz, and electronica/dance genres. Music fans from around the world will choose 7 artists each week to appear in ‘Playlist 7’ and receive additional promotion and cash compensation.

“The fans get free music from up and coming artists every week, plus they get to decide which Artists make it to the top of Playlist 7,” said Lou Plaia, vice president of Artist Relations at ReverbNation. “The artists get exposure and cash compensation every step of the way. Everybody wins with Playlist 7.”

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ReverbNation Gives Indie Bands Easy Access to Marketing Experts

word-of-mouth-marketingReverbNation, the leading marketing platform for more than 500,000 artists, labels, managers and venues, has partnered with a cadre of music-marketing experts to provide an array of marketing services, such as PR, radio outreach, street team development, and Twitter or Google optimization — all under one roof.

Any Artist who has a free ReverbNation account can click on their “Resources” button and find a list of expert publicists and marketing professionals that cater to Artists’ different genres and needs. Artists can then contact these professionals through ReverbNation, and receive proposals for particular services and how they can help the Artist succeed.

reverb_administratorReverbNation Gives Indie Bands Easy Access to Marketing Experts
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Coming Soon: Sell Direct to Your Fans with the Reverb Store!

Reverb Store

ReverbNation, the leading marketing platform for more than 450,000 artists, labels, managers and venues, has partnered with Audiolife, the leader in direct-to-fan eCommerce, to create the Reverb Store. The Reverb Store is a complete direct-to-fan eCommerce offering that is accessible to every ReverbNation artist at no charge. The Reverb Store allows artists and record labels to design an unlimited number of physical and digital products online, and then offer them for sale without spending a single dollar up front to generate inventory. The products are produced on-demand when they are ordered, then delivered straight to the fan.

“ReverbNation has been building toward this goal since day one. We wanted to provide a single turnkey solution for the serious musician that allowed them to promote, build and manage a fan-base, and transact business with them,” said Michael Doernberg, CEO of ReverbNation. “Audiolife shared our vision. The Reverb Store allows artists to layer a purchasing opportunity into every fan interaction they have online, whether it’s at Facebook, MySpace, a blog, or the band’s own website.”

reverb_administratorComing Soon: Sell Direct to Your Fans with the Reverb Store!
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