May Book 2020 May 2020 - Page 8

EDITORIAL example, artists with a lot of fans in Europe might want a company that fulfills orders from there, or an act with highly dedicated fans might want to do high quality, more expensive shirts. The process is simple and just requires loading up a design in the correct format (most likely a png file, with a transparent background so the T-shirt colour shows through). Then a decision needs to be made about the price/profit to be made on each sale. With services like these, you need to find the price point balance that works for you - the financial return on each sale is far lower than if you did a run of t-shirts yourself, but there is no set-up cost. Selling t-shirts is as easy as sharing the shopfront for your act/label via social media. If you decide to sell via the Bandcamp platform, they have a useful section on their website with tips on generating the most merch sales at bandcamp.com/guide. The other plus of setting up an online store of this kind is that the range of options go far beyond T-shirts. There is usually the possibility to create tote bags, cups, socks, badges, and many other items. An alternative for every fan! PLAYING ONLINE SHOWS The recent COVID-19 outbreak meant that many acts had to cancel shows or even whole tours, both here and overseas, which left them badly out of pocket. As an alternative, some instead arranged to do live streams which fans could access by buying a ticket, just as they would for a live show. This has led to websites like Bandsintown listing live stream events and sending notifications of them to followers of that act, while ticket sellers like Under The Radar (NZ), Eventbrite and Eventfinda 8 • NZ MUSIC COMMISSION MAY BOOK 2020 can now list online events. The NZ Music Month Facebook page and website also publish event listings for streamed gigs. The process for organising a live stream that you can earn money from has become even easier recently with the Arts Foundation website Boosted launching their own all-in-one tool for doing live streams - Boosted Live. This allows artists to collect money from their supporters and undertake a live stream performance all in the same place, with the additional option of forwarding income to a charity too. There are many options becoming available - one local artist who performed live stream events during the lockdown period was Nadia Reid, who sold tickets via Eventbrite. She then gave the hundreds of ticket holders access to a private Zoom meeting where she performed and could also interact with the viewers between songs - so it truly felt like an intimate, interactive performance. Another alternative is simply to do a live stream from another platform such as Facebook and then ask viewers to donate (via a site like Bandcamp) or purchase your music online. This can also be an interactive experience if you try to respond to comments in real time. The performance can also be archived for others to view at a later time. If you make the effort to do a show for free, then hopefully people who enjoy it will be encouraged to support your work. MAKING MONEY VIA YOUTUBE YouTube gives you the option to monetise your content, though there are limitations since the ability to put ads on your music videos requires an account to have a large amount of viewers. You need at least 1000 subscribers and at least 4000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months to utilise this feature. If you do want to tap into this market, then it can be worthwhile to upload videos by different artists under one account - either under a label name or just as a collective. YouTube pays a lower rate per play than most streaming services, so it’s worth trying to maximise the number of people you reach. There are other routes to making YouTube work for you financially. For example, some of the print-on-demand merch websites listed above (e.g., Teespring) allow you to automatically have your items shown for sale underneath your YouTube videos. Rather than just giving a link, these mini- ads show images of the items for sale and provide an easy access point to purchase them. Once you reach a decent level of popularity then there is also the possibility of product placement within your music videos, which can provide another income stream. A fair few local acts have taken advantage of this. Without naming names, it is possible to see all range of products being shown on local music videos for a fee - including cellphones, pizzas, and ice cream. If it’s done subtly enough, then it needn’t take away from the video. In fact, if you watch Kimbra’s video for ‘90s Music’ then the flash car she lies upon might seem like a welcome addition, even if perhaps it was actually included at a fee that was enough to cover the entire cost of shooting. These days album sales no longer provide the income that they did even a decade ago, so acts need to use their imagination to find new ways to fund their careers. Music listeners may be drawn in by the ease of listening via streaming services, but they also want to support their favourite acts. Make it easy for them and you’ll find they can be more giving than you might expect.