Q: The folks at MusicToday were such an integral part of the early Supersuckers online store success. Was there a particular promotion that stands out?
A: It’s hard to say since most of what the Supersuckers did was ahead of their time in terms of the possibilities of creating real band to fan experiences that most bands have just started trying to artificially create via Facebook, Twitter etc in the last few years. I can’t remember if it was a promotion via the store or just through the website and email list, but I think there was a contest where the winners got to go to a baseball game with the entire band and that seemed like such a cool thing to do.
Q: Besides the snowboards, skate decks, Eddie Spaghetti Loaded ipods, pint glasses, posters, koozies and even glow in the dark LP’s what other merchandise was once offered that stood out to you as being both creative and successful
Man, you are asking me to go back here. Even though you already mentioned it, I gotta say that the pre-loaded Ipods were one of the most creative things I’ve ever seen. At a time when some bands were still questioning whether or not to put their catalog online at all, you could purchase the entire Supersuckers digital catalog along with a bunch of other tunes that Eddie liked was such a cool idea. I don’t know what the profit margin was on those, but what an awesome idea.
Q: You obviously have a long history with MusicToday as well as being Robert Randolph’s current tour manager. Was there anything that you once saw the Supersuckers do where you tried to incorporate it with your day to day business dealings?
Back when I was at Musictoday, there were a lot of bands that just didn’t put any effort in to their online store. “Okay, tour’s over here’s a box of shit, you guys sort it out and try to sell it on the web for us” That just doesn’t work. People don’t want to buy the leftovers from last summer’s tour unless they are really marked down. I just tried to share some of the things that worked with the Supersuckers store (and other band’s too) with bands that were actually trying to make their stores work, rather than just using it as a place to store their leftover merch.
Q: What advice would you give bands today that wanted to have more of an online store presence ?
Not really sure. Seems like a lot of bands today already know that merch is going to be a huge factor with the death of CD sales, etc. I’m sure there are bands sitting in a garage right now designing their first t-shirt before they write their first song even. I’ve been out of the online merch game for a while to even know what the top bands are doing that stands out, but I’d say it’s important to keep the fact that you have merch for sale online obvious, without cheesing it up to much to the point that you are shoving it down your fan’s throats, etc.
I thought the Supersuckers had that balance down perfectly. The emails would actually be written by Eddie or another band member (very cool and unique idea which I had never seen from a band of their size and standing) and there would always be some kind of cool news in there besides “here are the tour dates, here is the merch.” You got to give the fans a reason to keep coming back to your site/store besides trying to make them come to a show or buy a t-shirt.
Robert Randolph & The Family Band