Gear Up… It’s Festival Season Again!

The clogging of lineup posters in our newsfeeds can only mean one thing, it’s festival season again.  As we all gear up for another summer of sunburns, last minute count-ins and late nights we thought it would be a good idea to look back at some of the interesting merch trends we’ve seen on the festival front over the past few years.

It’s estimated that over 32 million people will attend at least one festival in 2017.  And although there are more people going to festivals than ever before, there are also way more festivals for folks to choose from.  This increase of options ultimately has an impact on everyone’s bottom line – tickets get tougher and tougher to sell and artist reps are demanding much more money per festival date.

With the competition for wallet share more cutthroat than ever before and the price of booking talent continuing to rise, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing many of our festival partners invest more resources into ancillary revenue streams to help offset rising costs – merch sales being a critical one.

As the importance of maximizing these additional revenue opportunities continues to grow in light of a competitive festival environment, we thought it would be a good opportunity to share with you some of the interesting festival merch trends we keep a close eye on here at atVenu.  We believe helping you understand how your current merch business stacks up to the competition and the industry at large will inform what types of investments you need to make to maximize your merch revenue.


First, we want to give you a sense of the size and scope of our festival business.


atVenu Festivals by the Numbers

Since the launch of our Festival Platform a few years ago, atVenu has:

–  Settled over 200 festivals

–  Managed $35,000,000 in total merch sales

–  Settled over 3,000 headlining and support festival artists

–  Sold over 1,200,000 pieces of merch


High Level Festival Trends

Curious as to where your festival merch business stacks up against the industry at large?  Below are a few averages across our roster of festival partners – regardless of size and genre.  (Min of 5,000 ticket sold)

 Avg attendance per festival: 19,500

 Avg total gross merch sales: $421,000

 Avg $ per head:  $13.78

 Highest $ per head: $44

 Lowest $ per head: $3.51

 Avg. event merch sales as a % of total gross merch sales: 61%

 Highest % of event merch sales as a % of total gross merch: 86%

 Lowest % of event merch sales as a % of total gross merch:  12%

 Avg gross headliner sales as a % of total gross merch: 26%

 Highest % of headliner sales as a % of total gross merch:  78%

 Lowest % of headliner sales as a % of total gross merch:6%

 Avg spend per transaction:$50


By Genre

While most genre tags are pretty self explanatory, for the sake of clarity we have classified any festival whose lineup spans multiple genres (ex: pop, hip-hop, EDM, rock) and is stacked with major label artists as “Alternative.”   Our “indie” festivals are those festivals whose lineups are primarily made up of artists on independent labels (ok, artists that you’ve likely never heard of) and skew towards more “intimate” sized crowds.

Here’s how the average number of attendees breaks down by genre of festival:

Alternative leads the pack with highest average gross merchandise sales:

And how much are fans spending on average per transaction? With atVenu Register, we are able to track the avg spend per transaction for our festival partners. Of the festivals that use our POS, avg spend by genre is:

Now a look at the lowest, average, and highest $ per head by genre. Many in the industry consider this number to be the best and truest measure of merch sales success since it’s an average spend per attendee which scales regardless of festival size. Note: highest reported per head of $44 intentionally not included.

Don’t discount the importance of your event merch (i.e. the line up tee or event poster). It’s a growing revenue stream across the board and are the items fans take home to memorialize the experience. Here we take a look at average event merch sales as a % of total gross merchandise sales along with it’s spread, showing the highest and lowest % of event merch to gross sales.

And how does your Headliner Artist merch sales stack up to total Gross Merch Sales?

These are just some of the interesting data points we wanted to share. As you think about where your merch business fits into everything, let’s not forget about another critical piece of the puzzle – the promotional aspect. Fans that are shelling out money to purchase your event merch are walking billboards for your festival. This is not free advertising – this is incremental advertising YOU get paid for. So take it seriously. This is your brand. What better way to find new fans, sell more tickets, sell more beer, sell more food (and hopefully more merch) than to have your biggest fans promoting your event for you. Sure beats pumping money into Facebook ads to push your lineup.

Good luck out there this summer festival friends!
The atVenu Team

The Merch Industry’s Top Selling Genres

January 17th marked the 4-year anniversary of the first show to use atVenu’s Tour Merch technology.  From that exciting single event atVenu has grown to over 215,000 shows (100,000 in 2016 alone!) and more than 7600 artists, venues, and festivals from around the world.  This has amounted to $750 Million in merchandise sales managed through the atVenu platform!

We last checked in at the end of 2015 when atVenu had $320 Million in gross merch sales.  Now that we’ve more than doubled that volume in 1 year we thought it time to take another look at merchandise sales by genre!  To stay consistent in our reporting, all sales are converted to US dollars and any data from Venues and Festivals is removed.

Gross Merch $ by Genre shows Alternative, Country, and Rock continuing to dominate the top 3 positions, Alternative replacing Country as number 1.


The 5 genres with highest % increases in gross sales from 2015 – 2016 are:

Folk – 1959%

Latin – 1532%

Blues – 1158%

Christian & Gospel – 927%

Electronic / Dance – 803%



We saw increases in both max and average $/head for nearly all genres.  One notable stand out is the max $/head in Hip Hop/Rap.



The 5 genres with highest % increases in Max $/head are:

Latin – 762%

Hip Hip / Rap – 155%

Country – 47%

Blues – 42%

Alternative – 35%

The 5 genres with highest % increases in Avg $/head are:

Latin – 201%

Spoken Word – 43%

Blues – 36%

Metal – 28%

Christian & Gospel – 23%



We also saw a steady increase in avg $/head in each venue capacity category over last year.


Interestingly, the % increase in AVG $/head from 2015 to 2016 is greater with each jump in venue capacity whereas we saw the opposite last year.

1 – 500 = 4%

501 – 1000 = 5%

1001 – 3500 = 6%

3501+ =  13%



Many thanks to our partners for their continued trust in our platform and for making atVenu an integral part of their operations.  Hit us up if you need anything at all!


Here’s to a great 2017!


atVenu’s Latest Merch Stats: The Inside Scoop on Revenue and $/Head!

July of last year we hit $100 million in total merch revenue for 1,200 artists and we examined what that looked like on a per genre basis. Now, a year later, atVenu has managed over $320 million in gross merch sales for more than 3,800 artists, venues, and festivals…not bad! With more than triple the volume we wanted to revisit our data on genre merch sales and see what, if anything, has changed!

To make things equal with our last evaluation of this data, we again looked at artist sales in the US only and removed any data from our festival and venue clients.

And the genre with the highest gross revenue is… Country, last year’s number 2!  Followed by Alternative and Rock, ranked 1 and 3 respectively a year ago.

Now onto the highest and average $/head for each genre.  Some interesting changes to point out for the top 5 genres from a year ago:

% change in Max $/H from last year:
Christian & Gospel  =  15%
Rock  =  9%
Pop  =  33%
Metal  =  57%
Alternative  =  20%

% change in Avg $/H from last year:
Christian & Gospel  =  – 37%
Rock  =  27%
Pop  =  8%
Metal  =  – 25%
Alternative  =  5%

Any changes in top items sold?  Not much!  As we all know, T-Shirts are the top selling item, so we took those out again and looked at the next 4 highest selling items for our top 10 revenue generating genres. Here they are!

2. Tank Top
3. Koozie
4. CD
5. Hat

2. Tank Top
3. CD
4. Sweatshirt
5. Vinyl

2. Tank Top
3. CD
4. Zip-Up Hoodie
5. Long Sleeve Shirt

2. CD
3. Jersey
4. Zip-Up Hoodie
5. Sweatshirt

2. Tank Top
3. CD
4. Zip-Up Hoodie
5. Poster

Hip Hop/Rap
2. CD
3. Pullover Hoodie
4. Hat
5. Sweatshirt

Christian & Gospel
2. CD
3. Bracelet
4. Glow Stick
5. Deluxe Music

2. Tank Top
3. Pullover Hoodie
4. Long Sleeve Shirt
5. Sweatshirt

2. Tank Top
3. CD
4. Long Sleeve Shirt
5. Zip-Up Hoodie

2. CD
3. Book
4. DVD
5. Tank Top

We’ve received several requests to break $/head down by venue capacity.  We know per heads are significantly impacted by headliner or support slots, genre, market, and so on, but as a first pass we looked at the max and avg $/head for 4 different venue sizes across all markets and genres.  One interesting finding is the rate in which both the max and average $/head consistently drop as the venues get bigger.

Any particular data you think might be interesting or helpful? Hit us up! We love to get the questions and feedback.


Nielsen SoundScan Partners with atVenu!

Nielsen and atVenu Partner to Help Artists and Labels Prepare for July 10th Global Release Date Change


We have some exciting news to share with you!


Beginning Friday July 10, 2015, atVenu will become Nielsen SoundScan’s Preferred Venue Sales Data Provider and will automatically submit all venue sales recorded in atVenu directly to SoundScan on a daily basis!

The new Friday Global Release Date is going to have a significant impact on how live event venue media sales will be reported to Nielsen for inclusion into the SoundScan reports and Billboard charting.

In response to the new Friday Global Release Date, Nielsen intends to move towards requiring daily venue sales reporting to SoundScan.

This requirement will be instrumental in aligning venue sales data with sales information received through other channels – improving the accuracy of SoundScan data and Billboard charting.

Nielsen and atVenu have formally partnered to help you with this new change, and also open the doors to new artists who may not have reported their sales previously.

Key changes and impacts of this include:

  • No more $500 Annual Venue Reporting Fee to SoundScan for artists reporting via atVenu. atVenu’s SoundScan reporting service is $10/month, with no fee for months when an artist is not touring. For users already using atVenu’s merchandise management products, there is no additional cost for direct daily SoundScan reporting.
  • Immediate alignment of SoundScan reporting week and Billboard Chart Week. For the first time ever, Billboard chart weeks will be completely aligned with your venue media sales.
  • Real-time feedback on the status of your SoundScan submissions. Artists and labels will now see if submissions have been accepted, flagged, or rejected, and the reason why. No more need to pick up the phone and try to reach Nielsen to ask if your sales are in!
  • Applies to all artists in US and Canada. Your sales in both countries will now be accepted, and no need to pay a separate venue reporting fee for Canada if you are a US reporting artist.
  • Applies to Christian artists. One of our top requests has been from Christian artists asking if they can submit sales to the CMTA Christian SoundScan for the Christian charts. Now atVenu can submit Christian sales as well.
  • Free dashboard for record labels. Record labels can now access a free dashboard for managing their artists and artist SoundScan submissions all from one place including the current status of every submission.


So How Does it Work?

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 10.22.25 AM

If you are already an atVenu client, everything will switch over automatically on July 10th to the new reporting platform. You don’t need to do anything. Data will flow directly to Nielsen.

If you are not on the atVenu platform yet, simply create an account on and add your tour dates and music items. Then download the atVenu mobile app. When you are ready to report your venue sales, input your sales numbers into atVenu and have the venue rep sign off right there on your mobile device. That’s it! atVenu then syncs your data automatically and submits your sales directly to SoundScan. No need to create and send to SoundScan your sales data reports or venue settlement PDFs


Where Can I Learn More?

For more information on atVenu and to create an account, visit

Introducing MerchIQ!

This month marks the 2 year anniversary of our Merch Mgr tools. With our launch, we promised we’d continue to develop and offer new features that will help artists maximize their tour merch profits. We had a clear vision and long road map to build from the ground up starting at the merch table, working back through the trailer, into the warehouse, and up to the accounting offices – connecting each moving piece around running a tour. Now that the foundation is set, we can provide our artists with tools to accurately and easily plan and forecast their merchandise businesses with MerchIQ!

MerchIQ Planning
With MerchIQ Planning, you enter your tour dates and the merch items you plan to sell. Adjust expected attendance and $/head to calculate each show’s gross revenue. Easily plan for Headline, Support, and Festivals all within the same tour setting specific variables for each. MerchIQ will calculate nightly settlements taking into account venue cuts, taxes, CC Fees, and other costs so you can see an approximate net profit for each show and the entire tour.

Next allocate sale percentages on a per item basis and atVenu MerchIQ will calculate how many units of each item and size you’ll need for the tour. Enter tour level expenses like salaries, freight, comps, art, and more to accurately plan your profitability. Once all this data is in place, MerchIQ provides a Summary of your expected tour performance highlighting both financial and product details.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 6.46.26 PM

MerchIQ Forecasting
We heard you loud and clear! The forecasting report we built was a simple trend analysis to help give a bit of insight into your performance. This was a stepping stone to MerchIQ Forecasting. Once you begin settling shows, MerchIQ Forecasting takes over! You’ll see, in real time, your tour performance comparing the plan to actuals and forecast. This doesn’t just show what you’re going to sell by end of tour, but it forecasts your gross, expenses, and net profit. This allows you to make immediate decisions early on to ensure you make as much money as possible. Monitor sales, adjust inventory, and control costs.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 6.58.10 PM

MerchIQ Forecasting will provide algorithmic analysis of anticipated show performance. However, if you have information we don’t, like the tour is picking up and you have updated ticket counts, enter those details to further adjust the forecast. With show performance in place, the product tab details what you’ve sold, what you need to finish the tour, and which items you’ll run out of and when!

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 6.57.35 PM

And this is just the beginning! Soon, all MerchIQ artists will have access to their own historic data, as well as aggregate (anonymous!) industry data, to better aid them in planning and forecasting! atVenu MerchIQ will provide data around $/Head at venues, sales trends, % of size allocations, % of top selling items, and so much more!

For more info, check out the overview video below.

As we’ve said from the beginning, we know artists can make more money selling merch on the road and we’re committed to make it happen! Thanks to all the incredible teams we’ve worked with who are leading the charge to better service their artist tour merch business!

Happy 2015!

Check out which Markets Generate the most Tour Merch Revenue!

In September we hit the 1500 artist mark with more than $130 million in merch sales through the atVenu platform! We thought it would be interesting to take a look at which markets generate the most in merch revenue. To do so, we converted all settlements to US dollars, aggregated them by city, then plotted the markets. Check it out!

And what were the top 25 revenue generating markets?

This all comes into play when planning your tours and the inventory needed to maximize revenue while out there. We have some very exciting new features on the way to leverage this data and help you plan accordingly! Stay tuned!


atVenu’s Revenue, Per Heads, and Merch Items by Genre!

Last month we posted an update on total revenue and units sold through atVenu and received an incredible response from our community and requests to provide additional insights on tour merch data.

Now with over 1300 artists, we wanted to look at key analytics around the genres of these artists. To start, we noticed many of our artists had not yet set their genres under Artist Settings (Tip – go do that!). So for those who hadn’t, we used iTunes’ API to match artist names and their genres and set it for you! : )


With genres in place, here’s the make up of artists using atVenu to manage their merchandise.


For US only sales, Alternative, Country, and Rock are the top 3 revenue generating genres in atVenu.


Then we looked at $/head for each genre. Below, we list the highest $/head settled along with the average $/head for each genre.


What are fans buying?! We all know T-Shirts, and for just about every genre T-Shirts are the most sold item of merch, so we looked at the next 3 highest selling items. Here they are for the top 10 revenue generating genres!

2. Tank Top
3. Sweatshirt
4. Zip-Up Hoodie

2. Tank Top
3. Long Sleeve Shirt
4. Koozie

2. Tank Top
3. CD
4. Zip-up Hoodie

2. Tank Top
3. Zip-up Hoodie
4. Program

2. Zip-up Hoodie
3. Poster
4. Wristband

Christian & Gospel
2. CD
3. Zip-Up Hoodie
4. Jersey

Hip Hop/Rap
2. CD
3. Pullover Hoodie
4. Tank Top

2. Tank Top
3. Pullover Hoodie
4. Vinyl

2. Tank Top
3. CD
4. Hat

2. Tank Top
3. Long Sleeve Shirt
4. CD

As always, hit us up with any questions or thoughts!

A Look at 4.2 Million Units and $100 Million of Merch Sold Through atVenu!

We passed a major milestone at the beginning of July – over 25,000 shows settled through the platform in just 18 months! We thought this would be a good opportunity to share some of the interesting data we have about live event merch. In 25,000 shows, we’ve worked with more than 1200 artists in every genre and of all sizes to manage the sale of over 4.2 million units worldwide. This translates to over $100 Million (approx. based on exchange rates) in Gross revenue sales, $78 Million in the US alone.

TShirts and CDs account for 61.21% of total units sold worldwide. Add in Tank Tops, Wristbands, and Posters and you have 74.19% of all units sold.


To eliminate exchange rate discrepancies, the below represents Gross revenue for US only merch sales. TShirts account for 62.87% of revenue. Include Tank Tops, CDs, Zip-Up Hoodies, and Sweatshirts, and these top 5 items generate 81.64% of revenue settled in atVenu.



As we hit further milestones, we’ll continue to provide insights and analysis that will help you plan your tour merch business ensuring you make as much money as possible while you’re out there! Expect data around topics like: The most popular color t-shirts fans buy, heat map of the US showing highest grossing markets and per heads, optimal price points by market, which markets sell more of particular items, and a ton more! If you have any thoughts on data points you’d like to see hit us up!


Square and atVenu Work Together to Help Artists, Venues, & Festivals Sell More Merch!


We are excited to share that you can now link your atVenu account with a new Square account and immediately begin taking credit card transactions at your concerts, integrate transaction reports, and streamline show settlements!

All of your transactions can now be automatically batched, totaled, and accessible in the ‘money’ area of atVenu (the ‘$’ button).  Every night when you settle, all your Square transactions for the night will automatically forward into your settlement sheet – simplifying settlements and reducing mistakes.

We’ve piloted this with a group of artists and have had a great deal of success with artists all the way from club level to selling out arenas.

“Being able to take credit cards for merchandise sales on the Christina Perri tour is essential for increasing total merch sales.” said Ryan Chisholm, Artist Manager for Nettwerk Music “Square and atVenu make it fast and painless to accept credit cards, and to make sure those payments are factored into the nightly venue settlements correctly.”

When we first started tracking credit card sales in January of 2013, only 10% of purchases at concerts were made by credit card.  At the end of 2013, that number grew to over 30%.  Artists who take credit cards report increases in their per head sales, so if you aren’t yet accepting credit cards you’re missing out on increased merch revenue!

If you sign up for a NEW Square account and link that account to atVenu you are eligible for custom credit card processing rates!  Log into your atVenu account and go to Artist Settings / Link Credit Card to link accounts and learn more.



SXSW Selects atVenu to Power Official Merchandise Sales at SXSW 2014

We’re thrilled to share that SXSW has selected us to manage all official merchandise sales for SXSW this year!

Tens of thousands of people will descend upon Austin, Texas in a few weeks, and over 2,000 artists perform at this world renowned event.  As these attendees visit the SXSW merchandise tables to buy their t-shirts and swag, atVenu will manage the inventory, nightly settlements, and sales reporting for all SXSW merch locations!

Love this quote from Russ Steele, Owner/Partner of The Vault Merchandising who runs the merch on site for SX:

“atVenu is a game changer for the merchandise industry allowing better optimization of our inventory and faster, more accurate delivery of the accounting, ” said Russ Steele, Owner/Partner of The Vault Merchandising & Management and contracted merchandise manager for SXSW.  “For the first time we have at our fingertips detailed knowledge of what we have sold and what we have remaining without navigating spreadsheets.”

If you’re going to SXSW, we’ll be there for the entire event and would love to meet you!  And if you are a Showcasing Artist at SXSW – we have something special for you.  Reach out to us at and let’s connect!