Music artists frequently tell me how they are not selling as many CDs at their shows as they would like to. When I ask them how they trying to sell CDs they tell me the usual methods including accepting cash for the sales. They are obviously missing a key and simple tool that would help them dramatically increase their sales, a merchant account.
Too often artists hear the comment from their fans that they don't have enough money to buy a CD. Ironically, their fans just paid their bar tab and dinner with their credit card. Instead of telling their fans that they also accept credit cards, they elect to get only a few sales and complain about it.
Let's face it, we live in a "plastic" world. Just think of the amount of times you used your credit cards today versus cash. How about this week and even this month? I know the instant complaint or comment from some artists who read this will be that a merchant account costs $25 a month and they take 3 or 4 percent of your sales. But before you begin to think short term only as well, let me ask you the following question. Would you be willing to give up 2 CDs sales a month to be able to sell 70 percent more CDs? On the average, the artists I work with will sell at least 70 percent more CDs at shows when they can accept Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Most go from initially selling 2 or 3 CDs at a show when accepting cash only to selling at least 10 when accepting credit cards.
Of course your merchant account doesn't just apply to your CD sales at shows, it also works for your website as well. By having your own account, your fans can buy your CDs, merchandise and even tickets to your shows all directly from you. Plus, they can order boxes of your CDs to give to their friends at Christmas because you accept credit cards. Why give another company 25 to 50 percent of your sales for taking the credit cards for you and help them make even more money by having them ship it out? Keep the thousands of dollars you will be
giving away in the future and make more new CDs with it!
Remember this is the music business. You are building relationships with your fans that want to financially support you and your music. Give them the opportunity to do that!
Feel free to email with thoughts and questions.
Author Tim Sweeney is head of Tim Sweeney & Associates, who are entering their 18th year of being, "the only true artist development company in the world."
Tim is one of the music industry's most sought after experts and consultants, and has written several influential books including "Tim Sweeney's Guide To Releasing Independent Records".