It was purported to be a giant yr for Billy Candler with Absolute Merch, who had a variety of excessive profile shoppers getting ready to embark on main excursions.
“We were expecting this to be the biggest year we’ve ever had,” defined Candler. “We had some life changing tours for some of our artists on the book that would have equated to great business for us and anchored our live strategy.”
That included Blackbear who was on tour with Halsey, Ice 9 Kills who was enjoying arenas with 5 Finger Dying Punch and “a couple artists that had unannounced tours for this summer in amphitheaters,” Candler mentioned.
All that modified in March when the market crash brought on by COVID-19 disaster derailed these plans and left the merch firm and printer with a whole lot of gear that may not exit on the street. Candler redirected the merch on-line and started working with bands to donate a portion of the proceeds to help band crews that had been on the street and assist bands repay any present tour bills.
“Consumers really rallied around these bands and wanted to help out,” Candler mentioned. Seeing the success of the preliminary gross sales, Candler mentioned the corporate shifted its focus to charities like MusiCares. Up to now, the trouble has helped increase $115,000 for charity; not unhealthy for a corporation that launched in 2012 servicing festivals just like the Warped Tour. Printing shirts from a small workplace in Orange County, Absolute slowly grew into one of many largest music merch corporations within the U.S.
“Last year we worked the campaigns for five No. 1 records, and ran tours from arena-sized runs down to small clubs and just about everything in between,” Candler tells Billboard. “When COVID-19 hit, everyone freaked out, but luckily we had positioned ourselves over the last year to focus on e-commerce.”
Whereas different corporations enacted layoffs, “we kept our staff,” he mentioned. “Our bands all were on board to push their merch and wanted to raise money for charities,” together with Feeding America, Medical doctors With out Borders and personal GoFundMe’s for bands and touring crews.
Taking part artists embody Madeon, Silverstein, Quadeca, Immobile in White, Witt Lowry, Chase Atlantic, The Used, Half Alive, Megan Batoon, The Story So Far and Beartooth.
As a part of this system, each Absolute and taking part bands donated 50% of their share proceeds to charity.
“Some of these bands are struggling right now and for them to make five-figure donations to people they don’t even know is pretty incredible,” Candler mentioned. “With no touring happening, realistically for the foreseeable future, merchandise is really kind of one of the only ways that fans can make a direct connection with the band and its great to see fans continuing to show support.”