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IHM Road Tips Vol. 6: How to Get on the Billboard Charts From Playing Just One Show Pt. 2

Posted By : IHM, Posted On : July 31, 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.

Charting on Billboard from just one show is a big task, so we divided it into two parts. Part 1, #roadtips 5 covered the most important part of the equation – nailing the live show. In this installment, #roadtips 6, we’re focusing on the logistics of selling in high volume, reporting those sales to Soundscan through IHM, and utilizing other merchandise to fully maximize your revenues.

Getting on the Billboard Charts

After your memorable live show, direct the audience to your merch booth and send one person there immediately at end of show – have them go off the front of the stage. You want to have all the logistics of selling music taken care of beforehand, such as having enough CDs (with official UPC codes so you can report them through indiehitmaker), having EXACT CHANGE, and the ability to take credit cards using a smartphone program like Square.

Now let’s get to the science of charting on Billboard: Sales from live shows count towards the Billboard charts if you report them in an official capacity. To start, sign up for an account at indiehitmaker. We then show you how to properly track of the total amount of CDs you sell and complete the reporting procedures to get the numbers to IHM.  We’ll then verify and report your verified sales to Soundscan. Sell enough records that week, and you’ll see your name on the charts.

Here’s some basics to maximizing sales at a festival:

  1. Set a goal to sell as much as possible. Charting success starts in the mid hundreds.

  2. Mention your name several times on stage. People come and go, announcing your name at the beginning, in the middle at the end of your set is critical.

  3. Work your merchandise and recorded music pitch into your onstage banter so you are not shamelessly plugging your merch such as, “You can find this one on our new record available after the show…”

For more tips and tricks, join indiehitmaker and get tried and true methods that will help you sell enough recorded music to chart on Billboard from just one show.

But don’t stop there, maximize revenues even further with your merchandise.

The ABC’s of Selling More Festival Merchandise

“Why not sell something for $1? Everyone wants something to take home. If you sell it for $1, you work an exchange of income and they also remember you selling something for $1” – Kosha Dillz on the Warped Tour

Remembering your live show must be great, if you sell a music download card for $1 to a large crowd, you’ll be surprised at how many sales you’ll get.  Several of our artists have sold music download card singles for $1 each. They still made a profit due to the low manufacturing costs, and usually find themselves on the charts when they utilize our Chartbuster Program.

Everyone loves t-shirts. Design t-shirts specifically for the festival performance using sites such as Cafepress or Spreadshirt. Even if a festival-goer has never heard of your band, they will buy cool t-shirts that commemorate the festival experience. If your t-shirt design stands out from the pack, you may even get extra attention from media outlets like these best of Warped Tour tees.

Also keep in mind that people camp out at festivals for multiple days, so their merchandise needs are different than a regular live show. This is an opportunity for you to think of selling alternate merchandise like branded water bottles or towels. Here is a list of other items you can custom make and sell specifically for your festival performance:

– Custom magnets and buttons from BusyBeaver

– Custom stickers from stickerguy and stickersandmore

– Custom guitar picks from Clayton Custom

Custom towels

– Custom water bottles, hand sanitizer and suntan lotion

Lastly, remember to collect email addresses using mobile devices and a sign-up sheet placed at your vendor. People migrate to festivals from all corners of the globe, so this is agreat opportunity to reach new markets by sending email updates to future fans.

So here’s your challenge at your next festival gig. Use our three pronged approach consisting of a killer live show, a smart social media campaign, and a strategy to sell as much music and merchandise as possible to turn one festival show into a foundation for long term success and a means to getting on the Billboard Charts. Every show has the potential to change your career, the bigger the show, the bigger the opportunity to make something happen.Have a great show.

Join the indiehitmaker mailing list and receive more updates on when to start looking for festival gigs, how to get them and who to contact, as well as more touring tips.


Have a question, comment or feedback? Tweet us @indiehitmaker #RoadTips or contact us online


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

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