To simply put this, selling merchandise at your local shows or on a tour is how many artists and songwriters make most of their money from that night. A lot of songwriter nights or events artists are in are unpaid and usually costs the songwriter just to be a part of it. Gas, drinks, food, etc. Venues will say it is all for the exposure and while this is true in a way, I know most songwriters have a few side hustles to make income to support themselves and their families.
I have been a musician and songwriter for over thirteen years, don't you think that's past the time limit to just playing for "exposure?" Some venues have been beyond generous to pay what they can, but a lot of listeners and tourists take this live music for granted. If that tipping bucket isn't being walked around and shoved in people's faces at a show, you will most likely end the night with an empty bucket. If artists and writers aren't being paid, then how do they make revenue? It surely isn't through Spotify streams.
Merchandise. One of the most important words you need to understand if you want to make it. a career and living with music, songwriting specifically since it is so niched. If you play a venue that gives you 10% of the door, that could only end up being $40 by the end of your set. Set up a merchandise table. Design your stickers, keychains, and T-Shirts. You get 100% of those sales. Link a shop on your website and your social media sites. Don't worry about the money you are investing into your passion and career. Have faith that live music will pick back up again.
To make free designs for yourself, go to www.Canva.com
What Merchandise Can You Make & Sell?
It is important to change the live music culture. Pay your artists. Pay your songwriters. PAY YOUR TALENT.