Matthew Mole, one the most played South African artists on radio today, is currently touring nationwide. With his incredible talent, good looks and sincere music, the singer-songwriter has a long career ahead of him. And at the moment, he’s slowly becoming a brand in his own right.
While it is unlikely for an artist to get ‘rich’ by selling T-shirts, branded merchandise is a major source of additional revenue, but only if it’s well thought out.
Before meeting with Matthew, I visited his stand at the Park Acoustics concert in Pretoria on Sunday. Most of the items were already sold out halfway through the show. There were CDs, vinyls, beanies, sweaters and T-shirts.
Matthew is the creative force behind each item for sale. For him, it is important to discuss the concept, vision and aesthetics before the designers take over.
“It’s for fun,” he said when asked about his brand’s slogan, 'Who the flip is Matthew Mole?'
With all sorts of merchandise available for rebranding – such as headphones, cellphone covers and flash drives – Matthew says he’s keen to diversify beyond T-shirts. And his fans would be delighted: they would wear anything branded ‘Matthew Mole’.
Today’s fans have become ambassadors of products. For artists, the goal of branded merchandise is to sell, increase visibility, create brand awareness and perhaps above all connect with the audience while telling a story.
Where Matthew Mole stands out is in his seeking the opinion of his fans through social networks. A few weeks ago, he posted a new T-shirt design on Instagram followed by the question, “Would you wear this?”
This proximity to the audience could well be the key to his success. Branded merchandise has been used for years by musicians all over the world. It can be viable for artists in their search of other sources of income.While branded merchandise can promote music sales, standing out is also important. Innovation is a necessity. Matthew Mole’s approach demonstrates creativity in connecting with his audience.
To each song, a colour
The single ‘Light’ was released on Valentine’s Day this year. For Mole, the colour green represents light. He wore green socks and a green beanie when performing the song on stage on Sunday.
“Light is the green song,” Mole said. “The next song in a few months is going to be the pink one.” The use of synaesthesia in music is genius and Mole knows exactly how to engage the senses of his fans, which ultimately results in devotion and merchandise sales.
Now you know who the flip Matthew Mole is. If it’s not clear yet, take a look at his website here.