Being in a band or being a solo musician means investing a lot of time, effort, and creativity in producing music. After all, it is your primary product and what you aim to be known for. However, there’s another avenue that you should explore to further promote yourself while creating another revenue stream – and that is selling and sometimes giving away band merchandise.
What is Custom Band Merch?
Band merch are items that have the band’s name, logo/symbol, or associated artwork printed on it. Custom merch for bands are especially designed to reflect the style and genre of the musician. While the most popular band merch is said to be the ubiquitous band t-shirt, the range of items have greatly expanded to include other kinds of apparel, memorabilia, daily use items, and more. The designs of custom merch for bands are often refreshed several times in a year or when the artist comes out with new material.
Custom Band T-Shirts: The Beginnings of Band Merch
It can be said that the beginnings of musician merchandise can be traced back to the 1950s, when James Dean transformed the white t-shirt from a basic undergarment to a stylish trend. Big names in the music industry quickly rode on this new Hollywood fashion trend of associating items with particular musicians or artists, such as Elvis Presley hats and Beatles wigs. Suffice to say, they quickly sold like hotcakes to hordes of fans.
Bootleg merchandise begin popping up soon after, and bands quickly realized that other companies were making money off their popularity without them getting any financial revenues in return. Bands soon found a way to organize their production of band merch packages to sell as official merchandise to combat “fake” ones. This move helped them further connect with their fans and make as much as six digits in revenues outside concerts and album sales.
These days, the biggest bands and musicians in the world have teams of artists and marketers dedicated solely to musician merchandise. Band merch is no longer just peddled at concerts and shows; they have been selling like crazy on band merchandise websites and other online merch stores for bands. In this digital economy, you don’t need to physically make it to a concert in order to get band merch because you can simply have it delivered to you!
How to Create Band Merch That Sells
Before you promote band merch and custom band merch packages, you better make sure it’s designed in a way that it can practically sell itself. Here are some tips that can help you come up with stellar products that will be quickly snapped up in online merch stores for bands:
· Look at what’s already available. The great thing about creating custom band merch packages is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to come up with good products that sell well. Study the best band merch sites around and take a look at their inventory. Take note of what sells quickly in the best band merch sites and choose several options that you would like to start out with.
· Come up with your initial budget. How much can you allocate towards the production of your first batch of band merch? Where will this money mostly go? If you have a smaller budget, many band merchandise websites will recommend starting with small but easy to distribute items like stickers, decals, posters, and badges. They’re cheaper to produce and can sell fast due to their reasonable price, encouraging your fans to support you and satisfy their need to have collectibles without it costing them an arm and leg.
· Design with the fans in mind. Always think about what your fans will most likely be delighted with as you design and later on sell band merch online. What age groups and social strata do your fans and your target market belong to? What is their purchasing power? What does their lifestyle look like, and which trends do they seem to be inclined towards? Knowing these details will help you design and sell band merch online that you know will resonate with your supporters.
· Hire a designer. Whether you’re selling or distributing free band merch, it’s always best to get a real designer to fine-tune your logos and art – no matter what your merch will be. Even if you want to use artwork you’ve made yourself, it pays to get a professional graphic designer to create the right resolution of your original art so it displays well on different types of paid and free band merch.
· Think of campaigns to go along with your band merch. As you work with band merchandise companies on designing your band merch, you should already begin laying out the groundwork on the launch activities to introduce these items. In doing so, you can quickly get your products out to your eagerly awaiting market.
· Price your band merch well. A lot of band merchandise companies will advise you to peg the items in your band merch vendor store at an affordable price without having to undercut your merch production costs. You want the items in your band merch vendor store to be within the budget of most people in order to generate good sales. As you study your sales performance and gain more information about your customers, you will know when to introduce higher-priced items and how many of these you need to produce. It’s not always going to be about selling cheap band merch in your artist merchandise store; eventually, your revenues will allow you to create more expensive items to sell in your artist merchandise store for the genuine fans who are ready and willing to spend for such collectibles!
6 Unique Merch Trends 2020 by The Industry’s Biggest Stars
Justin Bieber’s latest band merch is a great example of how custom band t-shirts can truly reflect where an artist is in his musical career and personal life. This particular collection of apparel stands out from his usual band merch in color and style. The light and earthy colors are peaceful and serene, which go well with the spiritual nature of his carrier single, Holy. Comfort and coziness is at the core of his band merch apparel selection, as evidenced by soft cotton shirts, hoodies, and oversized sweaters all done in calming hues and graceful font selection. Finally, a reusable face mask designed in the same fashion is a great add-on that’s very relevant in this COVID-19 season that the world is currently under.
When it comes to creative band merch ideas, Beyoncé’s team is truly at the top of their game this 2020. This collection accompanies her Black is King musical album and musical film, which nicely rounds out the Beyoncé experience. Apart from listening to her newest hits, fans are treated to a musical film that she wrote, directed, and produced herself. What better way to culminate this new level of artistry by checking out these cleverly designed band merch? You’ve got comfy wearables like band t-shirts and a classic black cap, a minimalist black reusable face mask (best way to look stylish while staying safe from the coronavirus), multi-use tote bag, a sturdy water bottle, black and white stickers, and a 260 piece portrait puzzle of Queen Bey herself. And because Beyoncé considers this album as a tribute to Africa, everything gives off a beautiful safari vibe in the wonderfully earthy tones and rich, bold fonts.
Music merch companies know that when Taylor Swift makes band merch, it’s sure to sell fast. This latest collection inspired by her quarantine album, Folklore, continues to prove that. Swift plays it safe with tried and tested items like t-shirts, hoodies and cardigans but includes a cellphone case and Pop Socket as official merchandise – something that isn’t often included in other artists’ band merch. The forest-themed colors are sure to be loved by Swifties (what fans call themselves) and minimalism and cottage-core enthusiasts. Swift lends a calm and nostalgic vibe to her newest band merch, perfectly mirroring the music and lyrics of her surprise album drop.
H.E.R.’s latest collection of band merch will surely sell well on the best merch websites around. Each piece is carefully styled to give off a decidedly 90s vibe, which is the current trend. While her music is truly contemporary sounding, her band merch uses colors like black, brick red and white for a dose of nineties fashion nostalgia. The use of big graphics, photos, and daring fonts give these items a bold personality – perfect for fans who resonate with her music!
Billie Eillish’s multi-awarded music appeals to so many young and not-so-young fans all over the world, and the same can be said about her band merch. The carefully chosen colors are bold and gender fair, making them appealing to both men and women. Comfortable hoodies, and short- and long-sleeved shirts are sure winners when it comes to band merch fulfillment. Kitschy makes an appearance in her inflatable pool toy, a giant Blohsh (her signature, lopsided stick figure) done in the electric green that is so apparent in many of her visuals. A coloring book is thrown in the mix to maintain that youthful vibe and make it extra-appealing to pre-teens!
Lady Gaga’s Chromatica Ball event may have been rescheduled to 2021, but there’s no stopping fans from pushing through with their official Chromatica Ball band merch fulfillment! Pink and green tones represent Lady Gaga’s fashionable wild side, with hints of lime and electric blue to further enhance her eclectic vibe. The medieval-esque font used in her band merch is consistent with her sound and visual artistry. Seemingly common items like cups, pillows and keychains are given new silhouettes and colorways (check out that pink-rimmed enamel cup!) to truly make them one of a kind and worth coveting.
Companies to Create Your Merch
Interested in producing your own line of band merch? These music merch companies are the best out there and can help you conceptualize and produce winning band merch that your fans will absolutely love:
When it comes to music merch companies, Gemnote is at the top of anyone’s list. The company has worked with big entertainment companies and studios like Netflix, Hulu, Annapurna and mid-size startups who need professionally-produced music merchandise and corporate gifts for every season and occasion. They have a reputation for partnering with only the best manufacturers across different markets, which means that everything in their product roster is carefully and beautifully made from the finest materials, no matter the budget. Gemnote’s range of services include the option to conceptualize not just the design, but also the choice of band merch for those who need more guidance in this. The company also offers marketing services, making them a one-stop shop for designing, producing, and launching band and musician merch.
Merch.ly caters to independent bands for merch needs, what with their budget pricing options that are so important for musicians and bands that are just starting out. They offer custom apparel and accessories (hats, bags, and face masks) for silk-screening your designs.
· Custom Ink
While Custom Ink is primarily known for customizing apparel and everyday items for business use, they can also do custom shirts and gear for musicians and band promotions. They offer a Design Lab, where you can create your own artwork using pre-existing fonts and digital materials – which is great for those who want to DIY their logos or designs.
· Bands on a Budget
True to their name, Bands on a Budget is also well-known in the music merchandising companies sphere with their competitive pricing and constant promo offers. They do shirts, stickers, totes, guitar picks, and more! The company also offers a custom package option that allows their clients to save even more on their band merch orders.
Remember: the most successful band merch concepts always keep the fans in mind so they sell to a market that will covet them. Knowing that there are professional services to help you with this certainly makes the idea more exciting to pursue. The fact that band merch can be made across all types of budgets also make the possibility very attainable. Whether you are a fledgling trio that’s set to make waves in the coming year, a well-established rock group that is constantly looking for new avenues to further augment your income, or a solo musician keen on making better connections with adoring fans, band merch is definitely the way to go!