After a year at home and with income from live shows coming to an almost complete stop overnight, we’ve had to pivot and adapt. Luckily, this is something that musicians excel at,and over the last year we’ve seen sales of merch, both physical and digital, surge as a way to provide some extra income.
Using your website to sell merch online is a great option while you prepare to get back to performing live. This shift in living might even change what kind of band merch sells best, so it’s a perfect time to start diversifying your online website store with new items.
To get started, think about the different kinds of band merch you might offer. Items that can be handmade may be difficult to reproduce, but can also be offered for a significantly higher price point. Offering a good balance of custom merch and scalable merch allows you to offer unique merch for all fans at different levels of dedication.
With such a major focus on decluttering, organizing, and Marie Kondo-ing our lives, your fans might also be looking for more “useful” merch than previously. Let’s take a look at all the kinds of creative merch items you can offer to your fans.
Custom physical merch
These merch items will appeal to your long-term fans, who are willing to pay a little more for those unique items. Flex your creative muscle and make (or commission) designs based on your lyrics, song titles, or album art.
At Bandzoogle, we’re longtime work-from-homers, so our closets are already well-stocked with loungewear to be comfy at home. The most prized item? A terry-cloth robe.
For those who love comfort, but also a bit of polish, offer leggings or sweatpants to wear around the house.
Custom blankets are great for this time at home, but they may also prove to be big sellers when we’re all back in chilly venues!
4. Guitar string bracelets
Broken or used guitar strings have a lot of uses, so they don’t need to be tossed. Making bracelets out of them is a quick and easy add to your online merch table, and it’s a way for fans to buy something limited and premium while supporting you.
5. Magnetic poetry
Custom Magnetic Poetry, inspired by your songs, is an easy thing to make at home with magnetic tape and label makers. It provides a way for fans to be creative at home - maybe even rearranging your words will inspire them to write their own music!
6. One-of-a-kind art
If you picked up any crafting hobbies during the pandemic (or are looking for a new one,) consider selling limited edition art pieces! Cheeky embroidery wall hoops are popular (repurpose some of those guitar strings to add a hanging wire to the back) and are another place to share your lyrics or artwork. Handwritten lyrics, paintings, and drawings are popular too.
7. Custom playing cards
Cards are an easy thing to source and jazz up with your logo and even add “suits” of your choice.
8. Custom puzzle
Give your fans something to do on those long days at home! Create a puzzle from your latest album artwork.
9. Signed posters
As a die-hard fan collectable item, make sure you always keep any remaining posters from all of your shows, especially if they’re silk-screen or hand-painted posters. You’ll be surprised how quickly these will get scooped up as mementos.
Scalable physical merch
Don’t forget about your staple items - the ones that will always appeal to your fans and generally sell well at a decent price point. Offer a variety of options and use Printful in your store if you’d like to design some merch, and see which items are better sellers for you.
Shirts will always be popular, and you can make them more interesting than the standard logo-on-black t-shirt unisex shirt! Try adding t-shirts with your logo, or to go along with your new album artwork.
Try adding your logo to zip up, lightweight hoodies, or heavier fleece ones depending on the season.
Hats are a great option for adults and children alike. Snapback hats have a great space to add your logo front and center.
13. Phone cases
An inexpensive way to keep your band logo constantly in front of your fans and their friends. Don’t forget to offer both iPhone and Android options with a few different sizes for each.
As another inexpensive and versatile option, stickers are a great item to sell to help get your name out there. If these sell well, offer a few different looks.
Your fans likely enjoy a good cup of coffee or tea, and mugs are a fairly affordable item to add to your store. Choose a simple white mug and add some colorful artwork, or a poignant lyric, to jazz up the cup!
Custom digital merch
The beauty of digital merch is that you can offer it to fans anywhere in the world. Create some one-of-a-kind items for your online store.
Superfans love any way to dig back into your history as an artist, so a digital collage book of past show flyers, discarded lyrics, tour dates, and all that other “planning” organization will pull the curtain back on your creative process and give fans an interactive look.
17. Video or board game
Making a themed video or mobile game can be a really fun way to pass the time! Don’t feel like you can build your own? Games like Animal Crossing let you create custom designs, so fans can wear your gear in-game (maybe their villager can match a shirt for sale on your website!)
Sure, you could sell the setlists you use at shows. But why not give fans the opportunity to buy the whole set? Create a product on your store page and let your fans put together your whole set (but be ready to re-learn some of those old classics you haven’t thought of in years.) Dedicated fans will jump at the opportunity to hear songs they never thought they’d hear live, or just put together a list of their greatest hits for a killer show.
19. Commission a song
The personalized song market has exploded, since it’s such a personal gift. Offer a fully produced recording or a one-off acoustic performance - this can be customized to both your fan’s desires as well as your own. Not feeling that you could churn out a “song on demand?” Recording cover songs can be lucrative as well, and maybe you can reimagine a classic to give it a new spin.
Scalable digital merch
Add some merch that can be sold many times to different people. These merch items add value to your store, while giving fans at all levels a way to support you.
20. Sheet music
Sell sheet music for your fans that want to learn how to play your songs.
21. Guitar tabs
If your music is particularly guitar-driven, you can also sell guitar tabs for your songs.
22. Lyric or poetry books
If you have some design skills, why not throw together nicely formatted eBooks with your lyrics from each album? If you have more lyrics or poems that aren’t being used for songs, create a book for those.
23. Sample packs
Create a collection of loops and sounds and group them by genre, then offer the packs individually for digital download in your online store.
24. Music lessons or workshops
Do you teach your instrument? You could offer virtual music lessons, or a series of recorded workshops for your fans to download.
25. Live/ virtual concerts
If you have good quality video of some of your live shows, consider editing them together. These can be great for fans that were at those particular shows and are feeling nostalgic.
You can also sell tickets to private live streaming concerts to reach your fans all around the world who can’t attend live music events at present. Once those shows are complete, upload a recording to sell to anyone who missed it.
Maybe you’re using your time at home to create custom pieces that your superfans will adore. Or perhaps you’re ramping up on offering digital products that can be resold enough times to give you a recurring revenue stream through your store. Either way, creating and adding merch to your music website is a great way to scratch that creative itch while giving your fans a direct way to support you.
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