It can seem like a bit of a leap to go from playing and platforming music to making your own merch online to sell to fans. But merch by record labels, DJs and radio stations has been around a long time for a reason, and there’s definitely an appetite for well-made tees that let your fans show their support for what you do.
London based, global music institution Worldwide FM has launched multiple campaigns now, and they continue to impress us for two key reasons:
- They produce fresh designs by working with interesting, relevant collaborators
- They use events and special projects to hype the launch of their tees
We spoke to Dan Moss, their Station Manager, for his insights on making and selling music merch.
Collaboration is key…
Time and time again when we ask our community members what makes for a successful campaign their answer is collaboration, and Worldwide FM is no exception. One of Dan’s biggest tips for anyone making music merch was to pair up with like-minded people, “reach out to interesting collaborators who are great at what they do and who fit in with your organisation,” as he outlined.
… especially when it happens organically
This can be as easy as tapping people already in your network; Worldwide looked to their relationships with people and collectives already connected to the station. Whether that’s people they’ve admired for some time, like the art director of On The Corner Records Victoria Topping, or people they’ve previously worked with, like Jazzy Sport, who have long-standing connections to their Japanese family programmes. Not only with they be likely to share your vision, but ultimately, as Dan points out, “people can sense those relationships are organic.”
Always be fair
Be transparent and fair with your collaborators, from agreeing how profits will be divided at the outset, to keeping them updated with how sales are going so they can factor that into their own social media promo. This was a big part of Worldwide’s strategy, “We made sure we split profits down the middle with collaborators to distribute fairly,” said Dan, “so everyone comes out of it with positivity and a run of tees we are all proud of.”
Get Everyone Involved
T-shirts let your audience wear their support for what you do. “Hopefully our audience feels like an extension of our Worldwide Family,” Dan explained, “our presenters, team and listeners can all feel part of this station, and tees are a great way of showing affiliation and interest in our shared project.” And they help foster an immediate sense of community too; “for us, it’s a big buzz to see our listeners at events or on social media, around the world, repping the station.”
Kick Off Your Launch With An Event
Releasing your tee in conjunction with an event or special show is a great way of building hype and really getting the word out about your new merch. To launch their latest Jazzy Sport collaboration, Worldwide broadcast a dedicated radio show hosted by Mari and featuring a guest mix from DJ Mitsu The Beats, in Dan’s words, “Contextualise it as more than a tee – connect it to an event or a project that people can get excited about.”
Be Savvy With Promo
It might sound obvious, but the best place to shout about your tees is likely to be where your engagement is highest. We’ve got loads of focused insights on promoting your designs here, and while it doesn’t hurt to cover as many bases as possible, if you’re struggling to keep up with promo then focus on where your following is. “Think about the channels that will be most appropriate to promote – do you get most engagement on Facebook? Emails? Instagram? Prioritise,” was Dan’s take on it. And remember, as long as your merch looks great, people will be happy to get people involved for a few promo photos, “I think our presenters really enjoy the new merch we put out, so it felt quite natural to ask a few hosts to pose for some shots ahead of release, but only if they are into it.”
Looking for tips on how to approach designing with and for music clients? Learn from one of the best in the game – Jackson Green.