Monthly Archives: November 2014

How much is that t-shirt on the merch desk?

A few weeks ago I bought a great t-shirt online from the quirkly named bathroom wall company.  A nice t-shirt made from heavy duty cotton with a nice design cleverly referencing an iconic Bruce Springsteen song.  You can see it here.  The price of this fine piece of clothing? £13.99 (a bit more if you want big sizes), with free shipping.

I was thinking about this when I was at a gig by a pretty big band recently.  Their t-shirts were made of lower quality material and adorned with designs that one might charitably describe as “back of a fag packet”.  The price was £25.  I shan’t name the band because they are no different to many others but the point of course, is that if Bathroom Wall can make a profit selling nice, well designed t-shirts for £13.99, without the economies of scale that a big band enjoys, just how much money are the band raking in from sales of a (much) lower quality product.

With the increasing reluctance of people to pay for recorded music bands of course need to maximise their revenue streams, but that should not mean ripping off their fans.  The solution of course is for fans to stop buying the t-shirts, but fans like wearing their “colours” so that’s unlikely to happen.  So surely it’s not to much to ask bands to take the lead and produce better products for fair prices.  After all, they might even sell more that way.

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