During the recent interview with Antihero Magazine, former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Jake E Lee remembered the story of how he earned $70,000 dollars with just one t-shirt design.
He said that “basically the only way bands make money you know, touring and pushing the merchandising“. He talked about merhandise and said:
“Merchandise is where there’s no loss, there is no question about how many shirts you sold and how much you made off of it, it’s mostly merchandising now and I think it was always a big thing even in the 80s and I didn’t realize, I didn’t realize that when I was in Ozzy and we toured and there are tee shirts and I remember Sharon Osbourne say do you want your own shirt? And I thought, why? It just seems egotistical, why would I give a shit I don’t want, I don’t want to see my face on peoples chest everywhere.
It just seems weird, and I’d say no and then find … the last part of the tour that I did with them, it was the last three months that she talked me into, said: “Look, just put your own shirt out there and see what happens.”
And in those last three months, I made $70,000 off the one shirt that had my face on it and that blew me away, I was like “Holy Shit, I had no idea.”
So yeah, I was completely ignorant to the fact that merchandising, always thought merchandising was just like publicity for the band, I didn’t realize how much money it makes. And now that is basically the only way bands make money you know, touring and pushing the merchandising.
So it’s a different era, you don’t get tour support like you used to, I’m mean record companies will give you a couple hundred thousand to support you for the tour because the tour would then help sell records, but now record sales really isn’t … as far as you know, rock music, record sales aren’t that big a part of the money anymore so it’s strange.”
Click here to entire interview.