Brand Strategy



Brand Strategy


Since Merch was launched, we’ve helped independent artists sell more than $4 Million in merch on the road.

In 2004, after graduating from Ryerson University with a Bachelor of Commerce in Information systems, I did what any business major would do - I went on the road with my band.

For almost four years, I toured across North America, Japan and Australia trying to make a living doing what I loved most. I put out a couple of albums and found some moderate success, but what I also found was that managing merch inventory was a huge pain in the ass. There were no systems in place at that time to reliably predict how much merch I’d need on a run of shows or to track what I was selling at a gig other than a piece of paper our unlucky merch volunteer for the night would have to use. There had to be a better way.

I started speaking to my musician friends about their merch experiences, and not surprisingly, it was much of the same - complicated spreadsheets or slips of paper for tracking sales, and not knowing how much money in your pocket should go to the band, or to repay your inventory costs, or yours to spend on an extra libation for the evening. Then I began to speak to every musician in my network and I realized there was an opportunity to help myself, and all of the independent musicians who wanted to spend more time playing music, and less time worrying about merch tracking. So, I asked my good friend and colleague Steve Megitt to help bring it to life, and we got to work. 


More Punk.
Less Classical. 

Launching a product inside an agency is hard. Really, really hard. But, we'd launched the first mobile app for The Toronto Parking Authority, which had gone over well, so how hard could this be? The answer is way, way harder. Now, I don't know if there's a perfect way to get a product to market, but if we had to do it all again, I'm sure we'd do it a little a lot differently. We were a lot more punk rock than I think we planned to be, and Merch became this cause we had to fight for outside of our daily client work. We fought hard, and we launched our first version on the app store in March of 2016. Since then, we've helped more than 3000 artists sell more than $4 Million in merch on the road. 


Things We Learned

  • SoundScan wasn't that important - Along the way, we made a lot of decisions based on the qualitative and quantitative research we'd been doing, but we made a bet that artists and bands using Merch would value SoundScan integration. We were wrong. Only a small percentage of bands surveyed about the things they wanted most in the app mentioned anything about SoundScan.

  • Cassettes made a huge comeback since 2016. Having a cassette format for selling comes up a lot more than we ever thought it would. 

  • Using a checkmark as a confirmation action button in the app was a big mistake. It caused confusion in a number of user flows, and we've since removed it in favour of more clearly labeled action buttons. 

  • Sometimes you need to go where the party is. Most of our artists were using Square for payment processing, but our monetization model relied on transaction fees, which we couldn't get through Square. We opted to use Stripe instead, but the onboarding for artists was challenging. Our enrollment on Stripe is up now, but in hindsight, we should have met our users where they were most comfortable. 

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 © 2018  MHY       LinkedIn      Medium     Twitter     Dribbble     Instagram

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© 2018  Matt Hryhorsky