Workshop: New frontiers in merchandise
Host: Jeremy Goldsmith, Event Merchandising (UK)
Host Jeremy Goldsmith of Event Merchandising informed delegates of the developments in the merchandising business, providing pointers on potential new revenue streams for artists, venues and event organisers to exploit. And highlighted some controversial new practices by venues that are increasing their share of merchandising revenues to 28%.
Detailing some of the projects he has worked on, Goldsmith named the Olympic Games, the Americas Cup, brands like Harley Davidson, as well as many bands and live music events. “T-shirts are still the biggest seller in our market,” he opened. “The other thing that has not changed is short-term thinking – that’s short-sighted because we are in the brand building business… and what we do can take months of planning.”
He advocated artists that wear their own merchandise. “If you wear the merch, you sell the merch,” he said, citing X-Factor star Honey G as an example of an artist who understood the power of her brand.
“The scratchy T-shirts are no longer good enough”
Highlighting the vast range of merchandising products, Goldsmith referred to a Kiss-branded coffin, a rapper’s surgical facemask, Bob Marley-branded Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream, Chippendales underwear, Pink Floyd headphones, Kings of Leon beer, Nicki Minaj cosmetics, and other brand endorsements.
Goldsmith noted that quality is now paramount. “The scratchy T-shirts are no longer good enough.” In addition to ethical sourcing, latest fabrics and environmental policies, there are now a number of considerations needed to protect brands, he stated.
Shocking many in the room, Goldsmith said that the recent European ban on credit-card fees of 3% has prompted many arenas to inform merchandisers that they would now be charged 28% of sales, rather than the 25% norm, to make up for their loss in credit-card revenues.
Pulling on his sports experience, he talked about temporary superstores, citing the Americas Cup as an example, where the store sold $25 T-shirts right up to $500 jackets. Although such outlets are rare in music, they can work for specific events, he said.
For the London 2012 Olympics, Goldsmith revealed there were 22,000 merch product lines to deal with – maybe too many, but they generated £900million in sales.
When it comes to online sales, Goldsmith stressed the importance of having local websites to attract local sales. “American fans or Japanese fans typically will not buy from a UK-based online shop,” he observed.
“Merch is not just about the revenue, it’s about brand building, it’s about someone walking down the street wearing your brand, and it might help you to sell a ticket at some point down the road.”