Small Band Shares ‘Open Source’ T-shirt Design Any Band Can Use to Show Fans Why Buying Merch Matters
We are not ashamed to admit we had not heard of the band While She Sleeps before having become aware of its efforts to educate listeners on the complexities of the music industry. The metalcore act is hoping that a T-shirt design will help remind music fans that, especially in the age of streaming, buying good old-fashioned merchandise is still the best way to support bands.
The English quintet has been issuing tunes since 2006, with its “You Are We” disc having won last year’s Best Album honor from the Heavy Music Awards. We are impressionable music lovers, so the aforementioned commendation could probably have served as enough initiative to give While She Sleeps’ catalog a spin, but the group’s creative way of encouraging people to contribute to artists’ well-being through merchandise sales will definitely put the band in our rotation.
Why is that, you ask? As the rockers note in a statement, “There’s nothing negative” about the rise of streaming platforms, as 76 percent of this year’s music is classified as streamed. While the temptation might be to think, then, that musicians earn buckets of bucks through streaming platforms, the reality is just about the opposite. On Spotify, for example, 5,000 streams are the equivalent of only about $24 U.S. for the artist.
After the incredible response to our statement yesterday,
Thank you so much for your ongoing support.
Your comments matter. Today we have added more sizes and have the ‘support t-shirt’ available in XXL & XXXL.
The design is available now in all sizes at https://t.co/84LyW9LCyZ pic.twitter.com/C0TgrSzIA5
— WHILE SHE SLEEPS (@whileshesleeps) August 8, 2019
Household names need not worry about praying to reach that amount of streams, but While She Sleeps fully admits that it belongs to the family of “bands who believe in their message and fight to get it out there & make a positive change.” Enter the T-shirt design. Bearing the previously mentioned statistics, the group’s garment adds that “Band merchandise is the most direct way of supporting an artist.”
We have covered the treatment of musicians’ merchandise enough to know that merch is a goldmine, so by launching “a free-to-use design to highlight the realities of being a band today,” While She Sleeps is looking to strike a deeper connection between the joy that music acts provide to end-users and said consumers’ options for continuing to sustain their heroes’ livelihood. One could say that the T-shirt design is serving as a promotional means to remind us, as we heard in “L.A. Confidential,” that reciprocity is the key to every relationship.
“We’ve created this to try and shed some light on how much band merch does to support an artist,” While She Sleeps stated. “This isn’t a fashion statement; it’s here to explain in the simplest terms how important it is to support the artists you love and what’s the best way to do it.”
The English group added the T-shirt is "open source"—the design is free for other bands to download and use—and expressed hope that it will “become a staple in the positive change needed in the music industry.” In reading that While She Sleeps has a we’re-in-this-together mentality, we instantly applauded the band for caring about the integrity of the entire industry and not seeking to pit heavyweights against lesser-known artists. To the quintet, streaming music is certainly here to stay, but its T-shirt design could become a freedom fighter, so to speak, for its hopes that merchandise can give peers a boost and suppliers and distributors a secondary assist, too.