Music merchandise is a great way to make money as a musician and express your personality as an artist, so it makes sense to have some creative band merch ideas that will make you stand out from the sea of band tees out there.
Of course, there are those standard band merch items every musician should sell – think T-shirts, hoodies, and CDs.
BUT, more than ever, musicians are branching out and releasing creative and custom merchandise items.
- Interesting and unique music merch can grab people’s attention and actually get them over to the merch booth. And a lot of times, that’s half the battle. (Of course, your merch table display plays a big role here too.)
- It also opens up opportunities to create some higher price points, giving fans with the financial means the chance to support you to their full potential. So you could have your standard band t-shirts, but also have a higher-priced bomber jacket with a big embroidered patch on the back. Or a poster, and a higher-priced autographed poster. You can’t complain that fans are only spending $10 at your merch booth if all you have available is $10 CDs, right?
- And finally, it gives you the opportunity to keep your band merch display fresh. If you have the same three shirt designs year after year, your fans will have no reason to visit the merch table again. But if you can keep that fresh with unique merch ideas, they’ll come back show after show to add to their collection.
Now that you know why creativity is important at the merch booth, let’s go through a few of the best selling band merchandise options out there. Once you book a gig, try incorporating just one unique merch item in your lineup to start and build up over time.
Limited Autographed Items
This can work well for artists in every stage of their career. Who doesn’t love the idea of having an autographed drumstick, album, or guitar pick to show off to their friends?
You can price this kind of merch higher than others due to the added value of the autograph, and limiting the number of items available at each show can get your fans to rush to your merch table in an attempt to get these items before they’re gone. What you’re doing here is using scarcity to get fans over to the merch booth.
Another way to use scarcity is to create short-run, exclusive items. So maybe you create a limited number of alternate-color t-shirts or release a limited number of enamel pins for each album you put out. These can become collector’s items and can be extremely valuable to fans.
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This is a pretty niche idea, but I want to illustrate how you can create really cool, high-end band merch items by taking a look at the demographics and interests of your fans.
So a skateboard would be a great option for a punk, punk rock, or a pop-punk band because that genre is a huge part of the skate culture. It’s pretty easy to slap your logo or album art on the bottom of a skateboard, but, because you’re tapping into your fans core interests, it represents a lot of value.
If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at your fanbase and see what kind of trends you can see in interest and demographics. Your social media analytics can tell you a lot, but you should also make time to actually talk to them at gigs. Once you key in on some big, universal interests, try brainstorming merch items you can create to speak to those interests.
Almost everyone these days has a smartphone, so by selling phone cases with your album art or logo on them you’re appealing to a pretty wide audience.
Cell phone cases are a profitable product in general, so these can be great items to add to your merch table. Most people these days either have an iPhone or Samsung phone, so having cases for these phones alone should work for most artists.
If your show is during the nighttime and you have some lighter-in-the-air type songs, can generate some sales before the show for fans who’ve left theirs behind or run out of lighter fluid.
If you have great looking artwork or a nice logo, this is an item that can stimulate conversation when shared among friends.
Another great band merch idea for gigs is glow-in-the-dark merch. Think t-shirts, key chains, or any of the items mentioned above! Pretty much anything you can make can also be made glow in the dark.
As an added bonus, glow-in-the-dark merch can really make your merch booth stand out in dark venues. Place you glow-in-the-dark merch strategically at table so they’re easy to see from far away and you’ll generate sales from fans as they’re making their way to the stage.
Want More Creative Band Merch Ideas?
Merch is something we talk a lot about in the New Artist Model music business program. Your merchandise approach can have a huge effect on your career. As you’ve seen, you can use merch to relate to your fans’ interests, to enable your biggest spenders, and even to provide really unique experiences that will help your fans step up the ladder towards superfans. Click here to find out what else you can learn in the New Artist Model music business program, or signup for free lessons here.