I Wanted To Spend $40 At Your Show, But Instead I Spent $0

1 (1)Here a concert attendee recounts his disappointment after visiting the merch table following a concert, only to find their supply of records tragically depleted, and issues a warning to artists that fans are still eager to buy physical copies of their music.


Guest Post by Brad on The DIY Musician

I went to see a great, great band last night – a band that I already know and have seen live before, but am still not fully engaged in a super-fan relationship with. (Meaning I don’t own all their music yet, but I plan to.)

The show blew me away, exceeding my expectations. I had money in my pocket that I specifically brought with me to spend at the merch booth after the show. I’d wanted to purchase the band’s two newest releases on vinyl, after spending time listening to the streams. Yes, I could have ordered them online (and I still can, I think), but I knew the show was coming up, so why not save on shipping and maybe get the band to sign ‘em at the gig?

As the show was drawing to a close, the vocalist announced that he would be at the merch booth in the back after they were offstage, and he’d be happy to sign stuff, chat, hang out – whatever anyone wanted to do. Great! As the last chords echoed and the band exited the stage, I headed straight for the merch booth. I was third or fourth in line, checking out the goods, and the two people in front of me picked up copies of the two records I wanted, which were displayed on the front counter of the booth. When they got theirs, the stock on the counter did not get replenished.

My heart sunk. Those were the last ones. I confirmed this with the merch person, looked at the other stuff they were offering, and none of it was going to replace what I came there to get. I wanted to support the artist, but I didn’t feel like I should buy something I don’t want, when I intended to spend that money on those two records, which I still plan to purchase. I ain’t made of money.

So I walked away. Without the records, AND without the hand-screened poster for the show they were giving away if you bought one of the records. And without getting them signed and having a chance to chat with the band while it was happening.

Never thought I’d leave that show even slightly disappointed, but I did. And it was slight. It’s not the end of the world. I’ll get those records. But I won’t get that experience, which is a bummer.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is bring plenty of merch to your shows.

 - Independent musician, pro-wrestling fanatic, and Email Marketing Manager for CD Baby.


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  1. Since most bands are dumb like that, what you should do is buy merch before the show starts, and ask them to hang onto it until the end of the show when you’ll come back and grab it.

  2. There are different factors at play – was it early or late in the tour? Was the vinyl limited in some way? How are the band travelling? Is it eight people squeezed into a small van?
    At least they had some to sell. Increasingly we hear of acts heading out on tour without their latest record because of delays at pressing plants.
    Sure it’s disappointing but better to sell out than have a garage full of unsold merch.

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