A Merchandise Business Revolution
The merch revolution by Merch.Music is a zero risk no brainer: The worst that could happen, you don’t sell anything. The best thing that could happen, you fire up a new and sustainable revenue stream. We talked to Managing Director Mark Ryan about his vision for Merch.Music to be as important to the music industry as a Instagram, TikTok or Facebook account.
Making. Merch. Effortless.
Mark is a drummer and an IT specialist from Manchester who has worked for a number of large multinationals. Right after his son was born he read about the future of apparel printing, Direct To Garment (DTG). He bought a printer and started self-fulfilling his eCom orders for kids t-shirts with a lean towards geek. This soon grew into a small, but growing, On-Demand fulfilment business. Now Mark is the Managing Director of the merch revolution by Merch.Music.
gigmit: Hi Mark, what does merch mean to you privately?
Mark Ryan: In a word, Everything!. I’ve lived it for many years. I’ve played music all my life, playing shows in my hometown, Dublin. To co-owning a recording studio and managing artists. So I guess, Merch.Music is a continuation of my passion and belief in the power of music. There has been times it has consumed me. And times I thought it would never see the light of day, but here we are. We’re finally ready to show the world the future of merch. The time is right and the technology is available to create and maximise current and future revenue opportunities. We need to start working differently and COVID has shown us that is now possible.
You call it a revolution. How does it feel to have just launched this new solution for musicians?
We’re removing the barriers to entry and shaking things up. Timing is everything, in the current climate our timing is just right. Artists need all the support they can get, and we’re here to support and help in any way we can. Getting to this point has had its ups and downs, but we’re here now and ready to open up opportunities for artists. This has been a team effort and I couldn’t have got here without the blood, sweat and tears of everyone, past and present, on the Merch team. As well as my backers Helloprint, who, from day one believed in me and the Merch.Music concept.
What exactly do you offer the artist community?
We offer a scalable and sustainable merchandise solution which will grow with them and provide revenue to support their ambitions. We exist to serve the artist and to help them reach their goals. Without the artist of today, there’s no music tomorrow. Community is very important to us and our success. We want to be part of and support the independent music community. Starting with our merch solution, but also in sponsorships and partnerships which will create further opportunities.
Why has no one before developed such an easy tool as the Shopify App?
I can only speak for myself, but maybe it’s because the industry didn’t realise the size of the opportunity, or their attention is elsewhere, maybe streaming. Merch has always been the afterthought or sideline to recorded music. Considering the payout on streams, if I was an artist I’d be spending my time pushing merch based on the returns and the real-time access to revenue.
It could also be timing. Technology, both eCom and print, are now aligned which makes a solution of this scale possible. I have been working on this concept for a number of years, knowing first hand the barriers to entry for artists and armed with the experience of eCom and PoD. I could clearly see that a solution was both possible and needed.
What are the advantages?
Very simply, we enable any artist, early-stage or established, to sell merchandise directly to their global fanbase with zero stock, order commitment, minimum order quantities or upfront investment. This for the independent, and major, music industry is a game-changer. A merch revolution by Merch.Music. Now a newly formed band, a DJ that uploads his/her first track, or singer/songwriter streaming content on their social channel can start generating revenue with a few clicks, no risk or cash outlay. This revenue could be the difference between recording a track or playing a show that launches their career.
Sustainability is important to you. Why and how do you implement your vision?
Sustainability is at the heart of Merch. Traditional merchandise production has caused untold damage to our environment, from the runoff of harsh chemicals, the volume of water wasted to transport and warehousing. Not a lot of consumers know that for every t-shirt printed using the traditional method over 2.5 Liters of water is wasted.
- We print to order, or ON DEMAND. This means the t-shirt design is only committed to a product when the order is placed. This alone drastically reduces the 85.000.000 tonnes of unsold merchandise ending up in the landfill.
- Our print process is 100% waterless, removing that 2.5 Liters of wastewater from the manufacturing process.
- We produce and fulfil at the closest point to delivery. This reduces the transportation of goods, removes international shipping and returns production onshore.
If that wasn’t enough we’ve also partnered with blank apparel brand Stanley/Stella who, like Merch, have sustainability at their core. Not only is their product the best in the market for the on-demand imprint industry, but they have very strict guidelines and environmental targets which suppliers must meet. Including the treatment of their workforce, improved working conditions and removal of harmful chemicals from the manufacturing process.
We’ll continue to optimise our technology and global partner relationships to scale in the most sustainable way possible. I’m very excited and looking forward to seeing what contribution Merch.Music will make to the music industry.
Thanks for the interview, Mark!
This Is What Merch.Music Users Say
I’ve been working with Mark at Merch.Music for a few months now; he has been incredibly helpful and supportive of our store. It’s also great having someone to reach out to directly when I need support on a particular issue, which is something I felt was missing from many alternative print on demand store options. Merch.Music has taken away the burden of trying to anticipate demand, with the risks of potential over or under-ordering especially when launching a new store with little sales history to make a judgement on. This as well as relieving us of laborious self-fulfilment and administration allows us to spend more time learning about our audience / fans / customers and focus our attention more clearly on what works, which helps us sell more as a result.
(User feedback from BC Camplight’s management company VRTU Music)
We’ve had a fantastic experience working with Merch.Music so far. It’s not just been their commercial offering, but the quality of the items they manufacture, and their engagement and accessibility. We’ve been able to offer our fans a far greater choice of products, designs, sizes and colours than we otherwise would have, enabling them to more easily own items that resonate with their personal styles and band experiences.
(User feedback from Archangel Management)
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