Posted inMarketing

K-Pop band BTS team up with Line for characters and merch

Japanese messaging app Line has always made a big thing of its animated characters, which are used as ‘stickers’ in its users’ conversations, as well as appearing in mobile games, merchandise and cartoons.

Now the company is working with one of the biggest K-Pop bands, BTS, on their own range of characters. BT21 are eight characters ‘designed’ by the band, and made available through Line’s range of apps on 26 September.

Posted inNews

Report claims music merch was worth $3.1bn in 2016

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.”

Posted inNews

Bandcamp quadrupled signups by removing ‘fan account’ restrictions

The number of people signing up to Bandcamp quadrupled after it dropped its requirement for people to make a purchase before they could get a ‘fan account’ on the music site.

Until recently, the restriction meant that visitors to Bandcamp without one of those accounts were unable to use community features like following and wishlists.

“There was a good reason for creating it like this: to make sure the quality of the community was very high. The thinking was ‘hey, if you’re a buyer, you’re committed and engaged’. It’s not just someone liking every post on Facebook or Instagram,” Bandcamp COO Joshua Kim told Music Ally.

“Someone who put their money down to support an artist is serious about music, and that was who we wanted in our community. And that model has managed to grow our fan community to become huge and very robust.”

Posted inAnalysis, Marketing, News

Tips for independent artists to make the most of merch

From signed CDs and topical t-shirts to snapbacks and fire-starting jigsaw puzzles, merchandise is a vital income stream for independent artists.

How to make the most of it? A panel at AIM’s Indie-Con conference in London this week offered advice and anecdotes from a panel of marketers and managers.

It included Iris Gomez from Raw Power Management; Kevin Douch from Big Scary Monsters; Gabrielle Nicot-Berenger from Music Glue; David Riley from Plan It Music; Achal Dhillon from Killing Moon; and Cimone Fagan from Hospital Records.

The moderator was Absolute Radio’s Danielle Perry. Here’s our roundup of some of the most useful advice from the session.

Posted inNews, Startups

Merch startup Sidestep takes funding… from Beyoncé

Music Ally was one of the first publications to write about Sidestep when it launched in September 2013 as a way for fans to browse and buy concert merch before attending a gig.

We’re not its only admirers though: after working with the startup on her Formation tour, Beyoncé and her company Parkwood Entertainment have invested $150k in the company.

That’s part of a wider $1.7m of funding for Sidestep, with other investors including Troy Carter and actor Jared Leto. The company has sold merch for Guns’n’Roses, Fall Out Boy, Selena Gomez and Weezer among other artists, taking a 10% cut of sales.