We all love it when our wardrobe comprises of our favourite band’s merchandise. If you don’t then ‘kuna kashida mahali’. A number of our local bands have given us very handsome merchandise, some are still working on theirs.
I am one of those humans who is always on the band’s necks to give us merchandise.
The big question is; have we as fans ever thought about what these bands go through to give us the merchandise or the reasons behind them not giving us the merchandise? Worry not, I will give you some of the reasons.
Getting quality t-shirts/hoodies and someone who can print them well is a very big problem. Getting quality merchandise means spending more money. Since the printing is also an issue one can have quality merch but they might be fucked up by the printing guys. In my opinion this can work if the scene can have one or two reliable people to supply the merch then get a reliable person who can do the printing. Hahahahah ‘tenderpreneurship’ in the rock scene should be a thing. The same issue applies to the album physical copies.
Some weeks we did a twitter poll on how much fans are willing to pay for t-shirts and majority voted for 1,000, which in my opinion is very low; this is because the production cost is very high, the only way these bands can make good money is through selling of merchandise so 1,500 would be fair. Kenyans I included would complain a lot if the band says that their t-shirt’s prices are above 1,000, but we don’t consider the factors such as quality and production cost. We need to change and support our bands.
Production Cost Vs Return on Investment
As I mentioned for a band to put out quality merchandise, they have to spend more on production, if they are priced higher fans rarely buy them, sometimes bands are forced to lower the prices, they end up making losses or very little profits from the merchandise. So what’s the point of a selling them if they aren’t making any cash.
Distribution of the merchandise seems to /be a very big headache for the bands. There’s a lack of physical shops or very reliable online platforms where fans can get the merchandise easily makes it hard for bands to keep on selling them as the only place they can do that is at rock events (we all know only of those happen in a year). The main issue is the marketing and logistics. As fans let us help our bands with marketing part, let spread the word to friends and family. The logistics can be a headache if it is not well planned or if you don’t have a reliable person/company to help you out with it.
So now ladies and gentlemen I hope from this little information you can understand /why bands give up or they don’t sell merch at all (hata kama ni wewe utachoka), but all of this can work out if all of us can come up with solution and support each other.
Deejay Hueskillz and Phylline Jean have been leading the way in showing support. They always wear merchandise from our local bands on the Rock Tour show. The bands they have supported like Powerslide, The Seeds of Datura and Straight Line Connection can attest to this.
It just goes to show that we can all do more. Let’s buy Kenya, wear Kenya.
Thank you Murfy’s Flaw, Irony Destroyed, Last Year’s Tragedy, Rash and Powerslide for your contribution to this article.