Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Selling merch is one of the best ways musicians can make money with music. But selling merch can do so much more than bring in some much-needed cash. It also helps you spread the word about your music, build your artist brand, and make a lasting connection with your fans.
Key considerations for merch ideas
When coming up with merch ideas, you need to know your audience. Your fans are the driving force behind your music career, so it’s essential to consider their demographics, interests, and preferences. Tailor your merchandise to their tastes and create products that resonate with them.
For example, if you have a younger, “Gen Z” fan base, trendy and vibrant t-shirts may be appealing, while a more mature audience might appreciate more sophisticated merch ideas and designs.
Keep an eye on current fashion, music, and cultural trends to stay ahead of the curve. Ask your fans what they want, either at your shows, via social media, or online surveys. See what your peers are doing with their merch. By understanding what your fans want, you’ll create merch that is more likely to sell.
Explore unique angles and themes for merchandise concepts
While there are some basic staples you need on hand, to stand out in a sea of merch options, a unique design and angle can pay off. You want to infuse your merchandise with your band’s identity, story, and artistic vision to create a meaningful experience for your fans. Incorporate your logo, album artwork, song lyrics, or iconic symbols into your merch designs. These personalized touches make your products more appealing by creating a sense of exclusivity and authenticity.
13 merch ideas your fans will love
1. T-shirt and hoodie designs: creative concepts and customizations
T-shirts and hoodies are a staple in music merchandising, offering a canvas for your creativity to shine. Go beyond basic band logos and experiment with captivating artwork and customizations. Consider incorporating limited-edition releases, tie-dye techniques, glow-in-the-dark prints, or even hidden messages. Collaborate with talented graphic designers or artists to bring your vision to life.
2. Patches, pins, magnets, and stickers
Sometimes fans just want something simple, small, and affordable they can add to their jackets, bags, computers, etc. Stickers have long been a classic merch item for musicians, but patches and pins are always in style. Magnets, especially large ones, are great for fans to slap on their cars.
Another small item that fans love — and this one is useful, too! Combine it with a bottle opener for even more utility.
4. Hat and cap designs
Expand your merch line by offering stylish hats and caps. Experiment with different styles, including snapbacks, beanies, and dad caps. Add distinctive touches such as embroidered logos, patches, or patterns that reflect your brand’s aesthetic and art.
5. Stylish and functional bags
Extend your merch offerings with fashionable and practical bags. Tote bags, backpacks, fanny packs, or messenger bags featuring your band’s logo or artwork can serve as walking billboards for your brand. Ensure the bags are durable and offer versatility to appeal.
6. Prints, posters, and canvases
Transform your fans’ living spaces into vibrant showcases of their dedication to your music. Offer prints, posters, and canvases featuring album artwork, concert photographs, or custom merchandise illustrations. Experiment with different print sizes, framing options, and materials to cater to various fan preferences. Limited editions and artist-signed prints will create a sense of exclusivity and increase the perceived value of your merchandise.
7. Water bottles and mugs
Perfect for your fans to use around the house, in the office, or on the trail.
8. Phone cases personalize and protect
Personalized phone cases present an excellent opportunity to showcase your brand. Create designs that incorporate your band’s logo, album covers, or artwork.
9. Innovative tech accessories
Expand your tech merch beyond phone cases. Consider branded merchandise such as chargers, wireless earbuds, portable speakers, or pop sockets. These functional accessories not only serve as daily reminders of your music but also expand your brand’s reach to various aspects of your fans’ lives.
10. Customized laptop skins and decals for personal branding
Offer customized laptop skins and decals that fans can use to personalize their devices. Incorporate your band’s logo or artwork into the designs.
11. Notebooks and journals
Especially great if your fans are students. Who wouldn’t love to take class notes in a notebook with your band on it?
12. Limited edition items: Lyrics and set lists
As cool as limited editions of your posters are, offering handwritten lyrics and setlists is even more exclusive.
13. Autographed merchandise
Autographed merchandise holds immense sentimental value for fans. Consider offering autographed CDs, vinyl records, posters, or photos. This personal touch creates a deeper bond between you and your fans.
How should I price my merch?
Ever wondered, how should I price my CDs? When determining merch pricing, calculate the production costs, including materials, printing, and any customizations. Don’t forget to factor in additional expenses like packaging, shipping, and storage. Research the pricing of similar items in the market to ensure your prices are competitive. And remember, fans value the emotional connection they have with your music, so consider offering a range of price points to accommodate different budgets.
How do I sell my merch?
Merch sales at gigs and festivals are a tried-and-true method for musicians to move merch, but be sure to offer sales through your website, too! Use your email list as well as your social media platforms to promote your merchandise and interact with fans. Consider collaborations with local stores, music venues, or influencers to expand your sales.