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The Importance Of Branding Music Merchandise

Musicians these days have a very difficult time selling their music; most of it falls victim to piracy. Thats why its more important now than ever before to sell as much merchandise shirts, posters, buttons, etc. as humanly possible. Some bands are better at this than others, but one band stands above them all: Insane Clown Posse.

One of the most impressive things about the Insane Clown Posse isnt their success, their hatchetman logo, their enormous Juggalo fan base, their own festival, their wrestling league or their expansive record label — its their unprecedented line of merchandise, or ICP gear. Thats why artist merchandise like ICPs gear is so important it goes a long way in making up for lost revenue from illegally downloaded CDs.

Necessity of the Hatchetman

Merchandise is much easier to sell when theres a recognizable brand or logo plastering the item. When people like associating with your brand, theyll take every opportunity they can to do so. Most artists have logos built around their name, but nothing more.

What makes ICP exceptional is that they have a band name, an aptly named record label (Psychopathic Records), a name for their fans (Juggalos), and a maniacal cartoon (the hatchetman) to brand it all with. Thats why all of the Jokers Card faces are so crucial to the success of Insane Clown Posse.

If it werent for Insane Clown Posse member Shaggy 2 Dope sitting down and sketching the now famous hatchetman logo on a napkin back when the band was just getting started, ICP gear would not have nearly the significance it does today.

Product Variety

Aside from having multiple brands, the objective for every band should be to have as many individual products to sell as possible. If we were to list all of the hatchetman-branded ICP gear items out, it would take up multiple pages. The fact is, Insane Clown Posse members Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope realized the importance of diversifying their line of ICP gear early on, and today, theres a multitude of ICP gear out there.

ICP Gear Diversification

Yes, Insane Clown Posse has branded traditional items like clothing, jewelry and accessories with the hatchetman as part of their ICP gear line. And, also to be expected, ICPs gear line is stocked with all of the music and other media like books and movies theyve put out under the Insane Clown Posse name over the years.

Not to be expected — and this is what makes them so unique among bands today is the collectibles section theyve built into the ICP gear line. Insane Clown Posse comic books and action figures based on characters in those comic books have become something that diehard Juggalos pine for regularly.

Insane Clown Posse have even gotten creative with their traditional ICP gear items like clothing, extending it to include items like backpacks, wallets, and school supplies. Back to branding, much of these items are stamped with a Jokers Card face or the hatchetman.

The Dark Carnival Music Mythology Builds A Loyal Following

For all the press (negative and positive) Insane Clown Posses horror rap music receives from mainstream and underground media alike, theres one aspect of the Insane Clown Posse shtick that is all too often overlooked: the Dark Carnival.

That could be because many people dont take the time to understand it, which is unfortunate because the Dark Carnival is just one more element of Insane Clown Posses music that makes them so unique. Ever since crafting the concept of Dark Carnival and Jokers Cards at the beginning of their musical career, its been central to the band successfully connecting with fans.

Dark Carnival: The Origins

It all came to Violent J in a dream. In this dream, spirits in a traveling carnival appeared to him. After deliberation between Violent Js older brother, Robert Bruce (better known by his stage name JumpSteady) and the other half of Insane Clown Posse Shaggy 2 Dope, it was decided that the Dark Carnival was a static state between life and the after life in which spirits of the dead waited before going to heaven or hell.

Dark Carnivals Involvement with Insane Clown Posse Song Material

Insane Clown Posse members have intelligently decided to use this dream to their advantage and make it a permanent fixture in their persona. Insane Clown Posse uses the Dark Carnival as a platform to relay messages or moral stories through their albums, or Jokers Cards. These Jokers Cards all communicate unique messages.

But what morals could a band like ICP possibly convey through Jokers Cards and the Dark Carnival? After all, their music doesnt exactly lend itself to virtuous living.

The best examples are outlined in the Carnival of Carnage, The Riddle Box, and the Great Milenko Jokers Cards. In Carnival of Carnage, the Jokers Card takes the form of a traveling carnival that releases brutality upon the upper class and government that were negligent to societys lower classes during their lifetime. The moral here is equality.

The Riddle Box urges onlookers to seek their own morality deep inside themselves, and correct it if its on the wrong path. Finally, the Great Milenko symbolizes the inner hedonist within us all, and emphasizes that this desire must be fought off in order to reach heaven. The entire Dark Carnival mythology becomes amazingly complex when all seven cards and their meanings are analyzed.

There are currently seven Jokers Cards in the Dark Carnival, six in deck 1 and one (soon to be two) in deck 2. The Dark Carnival Jokers Cards in order of release are as follows: Carnival of Carnage, The Ringmaster, Riddle Box, Great Milenko, The Amazing Jeckel Brothers, Death (end Deck 1), and Bang! Pow! Boom! (end Deck 2).

Insane Clown Posse is looking to release card #2 in Deck #2, The Mighty Death Pop, in 2011. It has been announced that The Mighty Death Pop Jokers Card will have two faces instead of one, look out for number two coming soon!