Meet Merch Roadie: a member of the touring team who’s guaranteed to never get blitzed on cheap gin and lose the night’s takings. Merch Roadie is a startup and a device: “the only tour case with a merch robot inside,” as the Los Angeles-based company puts it. “It’s an automated retail machine built into a tour case, enabling artists to increase merchandise revenue through additional locations in high-foot traffic areas of festivals, venues or pop-up shops,” it explains. “Anyone can just build a vending machine, right? Perhaps. But, Merch Roadie is a full service. With the Merch Roadie, advancing, support and automatic settlements/payouts are included.” The robot is being used for beta tests until the end of the year, with artist Zhu already having given it a spin. The company’s co-founders, Sarina Larson and Natalie Brede, have both worked in merchandise-related roles for a host of artists and events. They’re aiming to have 20 Merch Roadies up and running by February 2017.

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