Sound Advice - What Band Merch Should We Sell? / by Prewitt Scott-Jackson

This is FWN's 'Dear Abby' column: musicians send us questions, we post them with answers and a fun made-up pseudonym.


Dear FWN,

Our band needs merch to sell and before we make this kind of investment we thought it wise to ask the band oracle. Stevie really likes the idea of putting our name on a Shake Weight® or a Snuggie® but idk, what says you?   

Thanks and stuff,

Dream Apple Moon III Esq.  


Dear Dream Apple,

For starters, please tell Stevie to find a new weed dealer.  

You see, it’s been established since the beginning of Rock, that Music, Sticker and T-Shirt constitute the Holy Trinity of Merch.

1. Stickers aren’t necessarily merch per se as you should be handing these out for free. Always. For. Free.

Stickers are Promotion’s middle name. There is no surface in Funkytown where your sticker should NOT be stuck (except for covering over another band’s sticker; never do that, it’s a total dick move). Unless of course said band once... showed up late for load-in, failed to backline, took 20 minutes to mic check and reduced your set time by more than 60%. In that case, sure, cover it up.

2. T-Shirts are an absolute-freaking must. T-Shirts are Promotion’s surname because like surnames they last FOREVER because people nostalgically hang on to them FOREVER because even though it's just a name (or t-shirt as it were) people for some reason assign much more value to it than it's actually worth. Hell, even when they outgrow the t-shirt it gets passed on to the younger generations in their family and by geez, the younger generations wear that t-shirt because "vintage" band t-shirts are never not super cool. Henceforth, even in death, your band will be promoted by purchaser of your t-shirt. 

Also, if you want to actually experience success selling the t-shirts, buy black t-shirts.

3. Music because, like, duh? Ya gotta produce a record and ya gotta package it as a record. Whether you package it digitally online or print physical copies, you must sell the record for actual money. Give away ten t-shirts for all I care but sell your record for actual money or exchange.

It’s a principle that’s nearing extinction but simply put: musicians should be paid for their music. It's important.   

If you can sell a truckload of records and t-shirts first D.A., then by all means, tell Stevie to fire off that Shake Weight® order. 

Regretfully yours,



about the word writer person:

Prewitt Scott-Jackson writes Dad poetry & short fiction when he's not hyping and typing for Fort Worth Noise. His writing can be found in Ghost City Press (New York), Five 2 One Magazine (Los Angeles), Prairie Schooner (University of Nebraska Press) and Sick Lit Magazine (Texas), among others. He prefers short walks on the beach because – and I quote – “It’s really hard to walk on sand.”