Band merch is a huge market and is one of the best ways to make money as a musician. Whether you’re an up-and-coming band or already have some major hits, selling merch is the best way to combat the decline of music sales. You may have your music on all major streaming platforms, but streams pay so little money that it is very difficult to make money off of music sales alone.
Not only does selling band merch put more money in your pocket, but it also serves as a marketing strategy to increase your band’s visibility. If selling t-shirts to your loyal fans provided a low-effort way to grow your fanbase, wouldn’t you do it?
All you need to do to start making money is to come up with some cool ideas for merchandise that your fanbase will love. The best merch ideas are ones your fans love and that are easy for you to reproduce and sell.
Stuck on ideas? Keep reading to learn some of the best merch ideas for bands.
The Best Merch Ideas for Bands
Looking for merch ideas to stock your merch table? Here are some ideas for merch that will surely be a hit with your fans and help you gain new followers.
1. Custom T-shirts
Ah, the humble t-shirt. When you think of band merch, band shirts probably come to mind first, and for good reason. They are incredibly popular and have been a staple for merch tables since the 1960s when selling official merch became a thing.
T-shirts are easy and relatively cheap to produce, which is great for you. For fans, they can take a piece of their favorite musician home with them and wear their shirt with pride. Which, in turn, is great for you because it gives you free exposure.
The best way to ensure your fans (and future fans) will love your shirts is to come up with some kick-ass designs.
Everyone loves stickers. Stickers are a great idea for merch because they are very cheap. If someone comes to your show and can’t afford a t-shirt, they can likely afford some stickers. It’s always a good idea to have products at various price tiers to ensure everyone who wants to support you actually can.
Stickers are also a great promotional item to give away for free. If you’re running any kind of contest or giveaway, stickers should be a part of the prize pack. Trying to incentivize people to buy your more expensive merch? Offer some free stickers with purchase.
The more stickers you send out into the world, the more likely your fans will use them to decorate their cellphones and laptops and stick them in public places, increasing your band’s visibility. If you don’t want to stick to regular old stickers, consider bumper stickers–they travel well!
If you think fans aren’t still interested in patches, think again. When it comes to band merch ideas, patches are a step up from stickers but still have that lightweight appeal. If you turn your logo into an embroidered patch, your fans can put them on jean jackets, tote bags, backpacks, and anywhere else they feel like it. In short, patches go wherever their people go, which means so does your band logo.
4. Tote Bags
While a tote bag might not scream “band merch,” don’t overlook this useful product. As more places ban single-use plastic bags from the grocery store, more people need reusable bags from the grocery store, beer runs, and more. Might as well give people the chance to rep your band while they do their shopping.
Tote bags are also a great merch idea for bands regarding promotion. If you run a contest for a swag bag, you can throw the stickers and other merch inside your branded bag. Trying to upsell some of your other expensive merch? Give your fans a free tote bag when they purchase a certain amount of swag.
5. Can Koozies
If you want something a little more unique than t-shirts and stickers, consider customizing some can koozies for your band merch lineup. These items are pretty cheap to produce in bulk and are a lightweight option if you’re carrying your own merch from venue to venue.
If you plan on playing any outdoor music festivals or gigs, especially during the summer months, consider investing in koozies. People use koozies to insulate their beverages all the time. If you slap your logo on one, it’s just another great way to market your band without even really trying.
Hats are another wearable idea for merch that people love. While not everyone wears hats, generally, the people who do tend to wear them all of the time. While sometimes an overlooked type of band merch, hats are a merch idea you should definitely consider to add some variety to your table.
If you want to follow the trends, “dad hats” are in right now–they are unstructured, classic 6-panel floppy hats, like a more casual baseball hat. They are perfect to sell in summer, but people wear this hat style all year round.
And for a cold-weather-appropriate option, you can’t go wrong with a beanie. No matter which hat style you choose, the best type of design is embroidery. While your options for customizing hats are much more limited than t-shirts, definitely consider customizing hats if you want your merchandise to stand out.
7. Guitar Picks
When it comes to the best ideas for merch, sometimes smaller is better. For bands, custom guitar picks can be a great (and affordable) way to promote yourself. Like stickers, guitar picks are on the cheaper end of the band merch spectrum and are also great as promotional freebies.
There are many options for custom guitar picks, including design and materials. You can opt for a full color photograph of album art or your logo. Or, you can go with a solid color pick and instead have your logo engraved or use raised print. Prices will vary, but you’re looking at under a buck each if you’re buying in bulk.
Sell Your Band Merch on MerchBooth.com
While making and selling these band merch ideas will naturally help to increase your band’s visibility, you also need your customers to see it (and buy it) to begin with. Exclusively selling your merch at live shows will limit how many fans can support you and how much merch you can actually sell.
Once you’ve narrowed down your favorite merch ideas, you must think about selling them online. At MerchBooth.com, we utilize Direct to Garment technology, allowing you to create custom merch at little to no cost. Instead of investing in a bulk order of t-shirts and guessing which sizes you should order, we print shirts as orders come in–and handle fulfillment.
The other benefit of opening a storefront on MerchBooth.com is it gives you the ability to link to your products on social media. A fan sends you a DM to find out where they can score your latest t-shirt design? Send ‘em on over to MerchBooth.com!