A couple of recent independent-music conferences has reminded us how important merchandise is as an income stream for artists in the modern industry.

Now a new report from the Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association (LIMA) has put some figures on that. It claims that global music merch sales grew by 9.4% to $3.1bn in 2016.

“Music is part of the culture, and people shopping for [music related merchandise] are not limited to the music fans per se,” LIMA SVP Marty Brochstein told Billboard. “Brick and mortar is taking the music category much more seriously.”

He cited time-limited merch collections for major artists including Justin Bieber, Metallica and Lady Gaga last year, which received strong support from their retail partners.

On a more grassroots level, pop-up shops (from Kanye West to independent bands and labels) have become a popular marketing tactic, while personalised merchandise – albums repackaged as CDs or vinyl for specific tours for example – is also on the rise.

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