IHM News

IHM Road Tips Vol. 11 – Merchandise: By the Numbers

Posted By : IHM, Posted On : September 23, 2013

The following blog post assumes you have great music and a solid live show before hitting the road. Not sure? Contact Bram, head of IHM Artist Relations & Support about a show evaluation,, on twitter @bram_rocks or call 877.994.6446 xt. 2.

“CDs are the gift that keeps giving, which proves that even in an increasingly digital age, consumers will respond to quality content and strong perceived value, even if it comes in a physical package” – Russ Crupnick

In 2012, CDs accounted for 193 million music sales compared to 118 million digital downloads according to a comprehensive survey from Nielsen about audience’s buying habits. So much for the death of the medium! The survey also revealed that 50% of teens listen to CDs, and 36% of teens bought a CD in the past year.

CD sales, especially in relation to its digital counterpart, show that CDs remain the preferred way people acquire music. There are manytheories why, from issues with digital sound quality, to the value of holding onto something tangible.

Take a look atCD Baby, they have paid over $250 million to artists since their inception, $50 million of which in 2012 alone. Brian Felsen, president of CD Baby says “we’re up over 15% on physical CDs year over year.”

So what do these numbers mean for you? It means that throughout your live shows – from local gigs to music festival performances, music conference showcases, and brand sponsored tours – CDs remain the foundation of your music and merchandise sales, and for the emerging artist, can be a key component to getting on the Billboard Charts.

 Need quality CDs at a fair price? Check out these recommended manufacturers for indie artists:


National Media Services

Disk Factory

Take Advantage of the Vinyl Resurgence

Vinyl accounted for 4.6 million sales in 2012, an increase of 19% from 2011. In fact, 2012 was the fifth straight year that more vinyl was purchased than any other year in Soundscan history. Also, 67% of the 4.6 million vinyl sales were purchased at independent record stores. Epitaph and Yep Roc report that vinyl purchases make up 12%-20% of sales during the first month of its release, and 70% of sales from Criminal Records in Atlanta come from vinyl.

Jack White sold the most vinyl in 2012, with “Blunderbuss” recording 34,000 sales. Vinyl sales accounted for 12,000 sales out of a 111,000 total for Grizzly Bear’s 2012 album “Shields”, and 21,000 sales out of 236,000 for “Veckatimest”.

Vinyl record sales count towards Soundscan numbers and getting on the Billboard Charts. With the exponential growth of its sales, consider adding it to your live show merchandise (NOTE: you can charge more for vinyl than CDs). Register for an IHM account today, and make your vinyl sales from live shows count.

Check out these trusted vinyl manufacturers for indie artists:

Rainbo Records – offering “random coloring vinyl” for the same price for the same unit price as black. Has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and NIteline.

Gotta Groove – offers crowdfunding discounts through GottaGrooveBot

Erika Records – good for shapes, die cuts, and custom vinyl

More Facts to Consider

The Nielsen survey revealed other key points that could significantly influence audience attendance and merchandise sales at live shows:

– 54% make music purchases based off a recommendation from a friend

– 64% of teens look for new music through Youtube –  check out how to create a viral video in #roadtips 10

– 12% make purchases off a brand endorsement – we covered how to get a brand sponsorship in #roadtips 8

– 18-24 year olds are most likely to attend a concert, with 54% of teens buying concert teesand 14% purchasing posters – get tips on how to create merchandise with #roadtips 6

 Your Takeaways

There are three big takeaways from this survey that affect your music and merchandise sales:

1) CDs are the foundation of your merchandise sales at live shows, with vinyl a fast growing segment

2) People discover new music through word of mouth. Increase your word of mouth buzz through social media (#roadtips 5), a stand out Kickstarter campaign (#roadtips 7), and building memorable moments in your live show (#roadtips 9).

3) Target the 18-24 demographic – they go to the most concerts and spent the most at concerts. Especially on t-shirts

Join the indiehitmakermailing list and receive more tips on funding tours and getting the most from the road. Have a question, comment or feedback? Tweet us @indiehitmaker #RoadTips, like us on Facebook, orcontact us online.

IHM Road Tips Readers get one month free when you register for IndieHitmaker monthly live venue reporting services. Click toSign Up for the Newsletter Now and receive your immediate discount code.  Code lasts for a limited time only!


Help others make it count, share thisShare on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Tags: , , , , , ,

About IHM

Indiehitmaker (IHM) is the cornerstone of PolyPlat Records ADSD, the Artist Development Services Division that provides independent, unsigned and DIY artists the same advantages as major label recording artists. We make your sales and streams count by working with Nielsen's authenticated partners and BuzzAngle directly to... +more

Our Partners

Learn about other companies that make up the new music industry

View our partners
Phone & Fax 1-877-GO-IHM (877.994.6446)
F: 877.994.6447

Twitter Feed Follow IHM