Have you ever wondered about how some bands manage to get merchandise without even being that good, or maybe not that famous at least? If you are a musician yourself you may have thought about figuring out some merch, but eventually gave up due the high shipping costs from Taiwan. Well, those days are over now. A couple of local Aarhus based entrepreneurs (and kick-ass musicians) have decided to do something about the issue – they have founded Merch City.
You may have seen their event on facebook, a free event advertising their official launch party, and you may also have read that they have one hundred free beers for the visitors at their HQ event tomorrow. Do I have to be more obvious – free entrance and beers, music from Kim Munk of The Broken Beats, hip-hop from local Liud, punk music served by Babycage, and acoustic set from Kings in Exile.
Before the event tomorrow, we sat down with the three founders, to hear more about Merch City and the idea behind:
The Guys Behind the new project:
Martin Helbo, 34, graphics designer and Savage Machine drummer
Rasmus Bredvig, 31, studio tech, producer and Captain Casanova frontman
Thomas Wittenburg, 33, marketing professional and Five Dollar Justice lead vocalist
What is Merch City, what’s the concept?
Martin: Basically it’s a shop where bands sell their merchandise. What sets it apart from other services is partly social and partly logistical.
Rasmus: Yeah, we host their merchandise business, and we take care of shipping, administration and all the boring stuff.
Thomas: I think the most important part is the social angle. Everybody is talking social media to a point where it’s kind of losing its meaning. With Merch City we’re putting social into a webshop. It might seem pretty simple, giving recommendations based on what you’re looking at, or what you’ve previously bought, but actually we dig a bit deeper into to the social act of selling…
Martin: You’re drifting, man.
Rasmus: What he’s trying to say is, that you don’t just show off your merchandise on Merch City. You show off your band. Cool pictures, videos, songs…
Martin: It’s a platform where fans can support their favourite artists, and discover new ones along the way.
Why is it relevant to artists and musicians?
Thomas: Merch City is created because we needed the service for our own bands. Somewhere or someone to handle sales and logistics. Accounting even. We pretty much just want to play music with our bands, but if we aspire to go somewhere, we need to treat the band like a business.
Martin: And Merch City enables that.
Thomas: We still want bands to think and act like businesses. We just provide a service to make it a lot easier for them.
What’s happening at the launch party?
Rasmus: We wanted to make a launch party that unites the music in Aarhus, across all genres. So we invited four local bands, Kim Munk [The Broken Beats], Liud (hiphop), Babycage (punk) and Kings in Exile (rock). And then we wanted to give people free beers and snacks!
Martin: They were all quick to accept the invitation. We’re gonna set up our t-shirt press next to the stage and print whatever people want on a shirt. Thomas will probably give a really long and boring speech in between some of the bands. There should be beer enough to cope, though.
Who are you guys?
Thomas: First of all we’re just three dudes who really enjoy spending our time making music, and helping others make music. Martin is a graphic designer by day, and heavy metal drummer by night. Rasmus runs his own studio, and fronts a rock band. I’m a digital marketing specialist on weekdays, and the singer in a band.
Rasmus: Martin designed and made the whole website, me and Thomas are not really here for our technical abilities.
Thomas: True, Rasmus is definitely better with people than machines, so we haven’t granted him access to all the functionalities on the shop yet.
Martin: Thomas could probably do some of the website work, but I think his time is better spent sealing deals and writing all the boring need-to-have passages on the website.
Thomas: Actually I think Rasmus have sealed the most deals until now.