Randy Granger

Randy Granger
In the Chihuahuan Desert near the Organ Mountains, New Mexico

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Honor Jar.

Performing musicians need to be creative when it comes to the art of selling your CD’s and merchandise at live shows. Recently I’ve come up with an idea I call “The Honor Jar.” Basically it is a plastic coffee container that I’ve peeled of the label and put the words “Thank You!” with some designs on the outside. I’ve printed a little sheet detailing the price of the CD’s and how the Honor Jar works. You put the money or check into the can and take out the change you need. I always seed it with a few $5’s and even has hard candy and coins to keep it weighed down. My minor was marketing so I know that consumers need a price to evaluate the value of something. That is why I don’t leave it open pricing like Radiohead and Jane Siberry (or whatever her name is now) have done. It has worked pretty well and allows me to keep performing.

The alternative is to have a crew who sells my merch for me but until I do this serves two functions. It says I have faith that I will sell some stuff and that I have faith in people to be trustworthy. And I do. It is funny; people will often hold up the money and make eye contact with me when they put it in the Honor Jar. Some even put in tips…. Hey I’ll take it. This weekend I was performing at a festival and when I played on my Hang drum the crowds just converge like magnets. I’ve written about it before how at first it is so exotic and mesmerizing but in order to keep them engaged you need to construct actual songs. I’ve noticed that when I just start to improvise some will walk away. If I make a mistake—even if they have never heard the song—some will walk away. It is amazing to witness that. I think it comes down to how much I am concentrating my energy and emotions into my music. People feel when a performer is not engaged.

That all being said I have to say it can be some seriously hard work, especially at open air festivals where the temptation to wander is natural. A gig like Labor Day weekend where I’m playing for two hours a day each day, solo, can be draining because you aren’t getting the immediate exchange of energy and you are giving so much ….. well you get the idea. I have a solo concert coming up Sept. 28th that I am looking forward to quite a bit. It is a chance to develop and pace a two hour show for a sit down audience. What a treat that will be! I’m energy, the music is vibrational energy, the flute, guitar, hang and singing….energy, laughter, applause, tears, smiles, money….all energy. My little Honor Jar is my way of honoring that gift and exchange. So far I’ve only come up short once, and that was probably my own mistake. Oh yeah, and the only phone numbers I’ve found in the jar wanted to know where to buy a Hang drum. Sigh….


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