Being in a band has its perks, for sure. You get to travel around doing what you love, you don’t have to clock into work every day, and you will never have to come up with an excuse to get out of showing up.
However, what people forget when it comes to being a full-time musician is that it’s still a job like any other. If anything, it’s harder than most regular jobs, because who you are as an individual is translated into your brand as a whole. In this sense, being in a band is the same as running a small business.
With that, every small business needs to make money somehow, and for bands trying to evolve into something bigger, you’ll most likely meet that need through selling merch.
If you really want your merchandise to be successful, you’ll have to think outside the box to create unique items that will elevate your brand and leave your audience impressed and with a need to get their hands on more and more.
To give you some ideas, here are some unique merch options to consider!
Although everything is digital nowadays, fans love being able to have a physical photo of their favorite artist that’ll last the test of time. Billie Eilish doesn’t even sell her own polaroids via her online merch shop, but fans took it upon themselves to recreate and sell polaroids of the star for as little as $5-$10 a pop on sites like Etsy and Depop. (Check them out here) Go the extra mile and sign a couple at your shows, if you want. Fans will go crazy for this limited edition, personalized token of your appreciation.
Every time someone asks you for a lighter, wouldn’t you like to be able to whip out one with your favorite artist on it? Instantly spark conversation over something as simple as this one and create a lasting impression on anyone who comes into contact with one of these bad boys. Fans who can’t afford to break the bank will appreciate being able to walk away with something to remember you by. Brooklynn natives, Flatbush Zombies released a set of lighters in a bunch of different colors for only $6 each, and they sold out in the first day they dropped. Although they’re sold out, feel free to still check out their simple, yet statement making design here.
Edm artists already know how fast these sell out, and it makes sense. Bandanas aren’t too expensive and everyone wants to rep their favorite artist for everyone to see. Your fans can keep one as a memento or get a lot of use out of it at their next festival or concert. Bassnectar has some awesome bandanas to give you some inspo. Check them out here.
Anyone who’s ever been to an outdoor festival or concert will tell you about the unending amount of times they wanted to sit down comfortably without having to find a questionable spot in the dirt. Whether they’re using it as a cozy place to sit or to dry off after being soaked by rogue water bottles at your show, beach towels are always a sought after item that your more practical fans will snatch up in a jiffy. Odesza has some of the best selling merch out there, including this dope beach towel.
Mints / Candy
Your fans just waited hours in line to finally get into the venue to see you perform, let loose during the show, and are probably feeling euphoric, sweaty, and exhausted after your set. Imagine finally getting to the front of the merch line and the first thing you see is a customized box of mints or candy with your show’s setlist or tour dates on it. Something so small now offers a double incentive for purchase: to satisfy your fan’s hunger and as a keepsake to remember how hard they went at your show. They say the way to the heart is through the stomach…
I think it’s safe to say the first ones we think about when it comes to musician branded headphones are the Beats by Dre. He saw a need for headphones endorsed by a signature music icon whose musical quality we trust and capitalized on it with great success. The ones you offer don’t have to be $100+, but the mindset is the same for your fans. Where better to try and sell customized headphones than at an event full of music lovers?
Whatever you offer at your shows, be unique and have fun with it! Your fans will appreciate the hard work and creative thought you put into your merch, and your sales will be sure to reflect that.