In a guest column for Metcrun.ch, Music Merchandise and Marketing Maven Jacki Vause is here to school us all on the growth of brand association in the arena (excuse the pun) of live music and concerts. Her most recent experience is enviable. Working with mega rock band The Dead Daisies, she came up with the most amazing concept to develop the real-life rock gods into a totally meta version of themselves: The Meta Daisies. Hellllllo Londonnnnn! (I’ve always wanted to say that)
Verch will become one of the biggest buzzwords in web 3.0 retail commerce as Web 3.0 grows. As we see lines blurring between music, film & TV, and video games, this confluence is exposing deep veins of opportunity. And one of these is ‘VERCH’ - Virtual Merchandise. Merchandising is any practice which contributes to the sale of products to a retail consumer. In retail outlets merchandising is the display of products in a creative way that tempts you into buying more items or products. But most people associate merchandising with brand merchandising - brand extensions.
When you consider brand merchandising in its simplest form, think about a rock band on tour selling T-Shirts, limited edition vinyl and pin badges. This form of merchandise often nets a brand more money than their original product offering. Take, for example, Peppa Pig - the popular children’s stories that started this brand behemoth have been eclipsed by TV shows, toys, theme parks and even food deals.
With the advent of Web 3.0 comes a huge opportunity in the digital version of merch - the term gaining popularity is “Verch”. At present, you will mostly see verch appear as part of metaverse fashion with various brand collaborations. But how does it work? The metaverse, web 3.0. and NFTs offer a new shiny revenue opportunity for brands who are brave enough to pioneer their verch. Right now, metaverse spaces like Roblox, Decentraland, Avakin Life and The Sandbox are hosting live concerts or pre-recorded events with music artists. This way of experiencing music burst into the public consciousness when DJ Marshmello and Travis Scott used Fortnite as a platform, but now online and metaverse gigs are becoming increasingly commonplace and most artists are looking at the metaverse as another performance channel.
The first and most obvious monetisation of these events, for the artists, comes via digital ticket and music sales. But I predict that soon we will see the physical reality of the value of merch reflected digitally. In my own experience with The Meta Daisies (the digital offspring of the rock band The Dead Daisies), we held a ‘listening party’ for the release of the band’s latest single, ‘Radiance’, in the popular mobile metaverse Avakin Life. For a listening party that ran for a week, we generated over 1 million visits lasting over 7 minutes on average. These were amazing numbers. This blew us away but imagine if even 1% of those visitors spent $10 on a limited edition NFT of the single?
Web 3.0, built on the blockchain, gives us the opportunity to create digital verch as NFTs. These digital tokens can be anything - keepsakes and memories or just collectables - that we own that tie us to our favourite brand, artist or entertainment property. We can use them as our avatars, our zoom backgrounds or just keep them in our wallet as we build our collections.
What verch comes with is the same old bootlegging that we’ve seen in real life, but the twist is that this form of bootlegging beyond infringement is actually good for the brand. These bootleggers are creators that are taking the music, the merchandise and the spirit of the brand or band and purposing it better than the brand owners themselves ever could. Of course, it carries its own hazards and risks on both sides, but it’s a great case study for how brands might operate in this space. More importantly and far more significantly, verch (as well as the decentralised opportunities the blockchain affords when it comes to digital sales) is an opportunity for the creators to make the lion's share of the revenue from their creations. For far too long, the middlemen (the labels, the stores, the distributors) have taken the biggest cut of the revenue pie.
Where the metaverse grows, we have the ability to explore the possibilities for the fan community, our creativity, and our wildest dreams. Web 3.0 may be the Wild West, but there’s gold in its hills, and it's called verch.