Merchandise sales are incredibly vital to a fledgling band's survival, providing funds that allow musicians to travel between gigs and giving fans the opportunity to own a tangible piece of their concert experience. But if the price isn’t right, it is unlikely that much, if any profit, will be seen from sales of t-shirts, posters, and other memorabilia at shows. Enter price matching. This practice of letting the headlining band set the merch prices for all performing groups touring with them may be great for the headliners themselves, but can be detrimental to the smaller support bands. After all, whereas a more popular group of musicians may very well be able to convince followers to pay relatively steep prices for a shirt, the same cannot be said for their unknown counterparts. Emily Zemler from Alt Press gives a detailed report of this concept in her article below titled “Expensive White T’s: The Politics of Price Matching.”
Take a look at what band members from groups such as Some Hear Explosions and 3OH!3 have to say on the subject, and let us know what you think! Is price matching fair? Will you think twice about your purchase the next time you find yourself at a merch table? How much should it cost to own a t-shirt that proves you were there? Looking forward to your thoughts, views, and opinions in the comments!
(Alt Press) Expensive White T's: The Politics of Price Matching
Credit: Emily Zemler
Recently, 3OH!3’s Nathaniel Motte penned a thoughtful, lengthy blog on his band’s website decrying the practice of “price matching.” The blog was spawned from a specific instance at a holiday radio show in Sacramento, California, where 3OH!3 were required to price their shirts at a equivalent cost to the headliner’s merch—an amount Motte and bandmate Sean Foreman deemed too expensive for their fans. The incident, which Motte describes in detail in his post, is indicative of a larger issue, one that affects bands and music fans across the board.
Motte’s post raises a slew of intriguing questions: What is price matching? Why is it done? Who does it benefit and who does it harm? And, most importantly, what is and what should be the purpose of selling merch?