Music site Bandcamp has a feature which allows artists to give away their music for free or allow fans to ‘name their price’. This ‘Pay What You Want’ model came to the fore in 2008 when Radiohead used it for the release of ‘In Rainbows’. Rather than using this strategy solely for digital downloads, have you ever thought about using it for physical band merchandise?
I was speaking to a band earlier this week that tried this model on the merch stall for one of their vinyl 7 inch singles and they told me they had terrific sales. In some respects a ‘pay what you want’ system works as ‘charitable giving’ on behalf of the artist, you are technically offering the item for free. This offer is seen as generosity on your part and fans will probably feel obliged to be equally generous in return (especially if you’ve put on a good show!).
Give this a try with one of your items on the merch stall (perhaps an older music release?) and see what happens.
Got any questions about this post or how you can better market yourself?