Many musicians struggle in turning their passion for music into a living. Why? Perhaps this is because so many artists do not realise that being a musician also means running your own business. In order to make money from your artistry, you need to wake up and smell the corporate coffee…
You, as an artist, are a business. In order to make a livelihood you’ll need to look outside the money that releasing music brings you. One of the key areas you should consider developing to boost your income is merch.
One of the greatest things about merch is that it serves multiple purposes. Music merch will generate revenue, provide free promotion and give fans a piece of memorabilia. Coupled alongside concerts, streaming, ads and licensing, you could be on your way to building yourself a sustainable career as a musician.
Check out our recent blog article on how to make money from your music.
By knowing how much profit each of your items makes you know where you can focus pushing sales, or if a product is even worth developing. Promoting and selling high profit items with low cost production will top the bank up in no time!
Beware of mass-production! Yes, the majority of manufacturers would offer a discount for ordering more products, but this only benefits you if the units sell and you make the money back. If you do not validate the demand level beforehand, you’ll end up with boxes of unsold much stacking up in your bedroom!
You could validate the demand level by running a pre-sale. This would give you some confirmed sales as well as help you to ascertain the interest level. Alternatively, you could run a small quantity run and order more of what you need to! Or, you could even take it straight to your fans and ask! Doing this would be a great way to gauge enthusiasm, line up potential buyers and get engagement on your social media. Whatever you decide to do, playing it safe is always the right play. Spending £500 on t-shirts to only sell one would be a disaster!
Some merchandise has the benefit of providing more than just the immediate return. Marketing and exposure are two highly beneficial benefits that you should consider when selecting merchandise. Stickers, hoodies, t-shirts, tote bags, all these things promote you, for free, whilst out and about!
T-Shirts, Hoodies and Sweatshirts!
Oh the humble t-shirt! When I said merchandise, I bet your brain went straight to T-shirt! It’s the staple piece of every band. Every band should have one. If they don’t… I mean, are they really a band?
Firstly, the tee is the most popular merch there is! Second, it gives some of those marketing and exposure benefits we mentioned earlier. Make sure any t-shirt you design looks awesome! Don’t just throw your album cover on there, make it stand out and make it look appealing! It needs to be a t-shirt that someone wants to wear!
And these same rules apply for a hoodie or sweatshirt!
It’s 2020 right? You definitely own a tote bag! If you don’t… THINK OF THE TURTLES MAN!
Plastics are being banned all around the world, and with good reason. Reusable bags and tote bags are the way of the future and a great opportunity for your band merchandise. Plus, it gives your fans something to carry all their merch round in after your concert!
Hats, Caps and Beanies.
A great merch idea that is often overlooked! Whilst not everyone wears hats, the hat-wearers of the world are loyal to their cause! Whilst hats may not be as easy to customise as T-shirts, you can still get creative! Plus, it means that you’ll always have a hat on standby for Xmas for Dad’s bald-spot!
Everybody loves stickers! Well, they probably don’t… But they are definitely a hit with some! Stickers are incredibly cheap and can be stuck everywhere. This is the kind of thing that you can give away for free with an order when it’s delivered. That extra little something can make all the difference.
Patches are like going from Xbox to Xbox 360, or One, or Series X… They’ll probably make another one by the time I finish writing this…
Anyway, they are a step-up from stickers. Essentially, patches are an embroidered logo that your fans can attach to anything they want! Usually they end up on backpacks and denim jackets, both of which fans take out with them constantly (Free marketing anyone?).
An oldie, but goodie! Especially popular with any aspiring musicians who follow your music! The classic guitar picks are highly customisable, cheap to put together and a great add-on to your fans’s shopping basket!
Posters are such a classic! I just had to include them in this list. Every single music fan out there had a wall covered in band posters as a teenager… And there was definitely one that you are embarrassed about now!
Posters are cheap, valued and highly popular!
The great thing about keyrings is how creative you can be! Keyrings come in a variety of options: Plastic, Metal, Rubber, different shapes and sizes! You can do whatever you want here. Keyrings are an everyday merch item so your biggest fans will be carrying you around with them all day!
Wallpaper, Digital Wallpaper and Ringtones
Okay, we know it’s not 2004. But, these can still be useful for you, and best of all, they are free for you to make!
Now we’re talking! When you want to take your merchandise to the next level, you get to releasing vinyls. Vinyls have made a come-back and sprung up in popularity in recent years. It’s officially cool to own vinyls.
There is so much you can do when it comes to design… The vinyl’s your oyster! This will be a big and expensive project. But you’ll be given a collectors item to your most loyal fans.
You can sign literally any of the items above! Once you sign it, it will become worth more money! You can sell signed shirts as an exclusive limited edition item. Be really careful not to over-do it here though. If you sell signed merch often then it will dramatically reduce in value. It is only valuable the whole time it is exclusive.
These are just a handful of popular merchandise ideas to get you started. If you’re feeling creative enough, you could turn anything into merch!
By introducing merch into your artist strategy, you’ll be able to increase the income you make from your music and turn it into your livelihood. Remember to be unique and creative with the products you make. Create products that you think your fans would want to own, and pay attention to what interests them.
Check out the orginal post and more at https://blog.identitymusic.com/2020/09/11/music-merch-guide/